Too Many Children Still At Risk Of Child Abuse

New Report Finds Children Still "Slipping Through The Net", Putting Them At Risk


Too many children in England are "slipping through the net" and remaining at risk of sexual abuse, a new report from the Office of the Children's Commissioner (OCC) has announced today.

The OCC report found that there had been "considerable" progress in some areas, but that more work is still needed "at the front line" if child exploitation is to be adequately tackled.

One of the main concerns raised in the report is the under-identification of victims. A previous recommendation from the OCC to make sex education a statutory part of the curriculum has not been adopted.

This results in a lack of awareness amongst young people of what does and does not constitute a healthy relationship, the report suggests.

Only 48% of local Safeguarding Children Boards said they had identified victims. Reported rates of child sexual exploitation were vastly different across different parts of England. In nine local authorities with similar demographics and deprivation levels, the rates of known exploitation ranged between one and 65 in 10,000.

Deputy Commissioner Sue Berelowitzt, who headed the inquiry, said: "Organisations and authorities responsible for children's safety must also not ignore the lessons from our inquiry, reinforced powerfully by findings in Rotherham and elsewhere.

"It is absolutely critical that they have in place ways of identifying the children who at risk or are already victims and ensuring their safety."

Expert Opinion
The findings of the OCC are incredibly disturbing and it is clear that there remains plenty to do on the issue of safeguarding young people in communities across England.

"Our work on behalf of victims of abuse means we have seen the lasting impact such problems can have on lives, often leaving people with physical and psychological trauma from which they may never fully recover.

"As a result, it is absolutely vital that work continues to identify and safeguard vulnerable children from the risk of exploitation. Lessons must be learned from the terrible cases which have emerged in the recent past."
Tracey Storey, Partner