Children: Sexual Offences

Children, Schools and Families written question – answered on 3rd December 2007.

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Photo of Helen Southworth Helen Southworth Labour, Warrington South

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps have been taken by his Department to tackle child sexual exploitation.

Photo of Kevin Brennan Kevin Brennan Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (Children, Young People and Families)

The Department has taken a number of steps to tackle child sexual exploitation, including publication in April 2006 of the updated 'Working Together to Safeguard Children', the main inter-agency guide to working together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. 'Working Together' stresses the need to treat children involved in prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation primarily as the victims of abuse and advises that agencies should work together to develop local protocols. It also includes guidance for practitioners on sharing information with children's social care and the police about underage sexual activity, in response to recommendation 13 of the Bichard Inquiry Report, and sets out a number of considerations that practitioners should take into account in assessing when and how to share information about underage sexual activity. These include indicators of possible sexual exploitation. We have also established Local Safeguarding Children Boards, which have a role in co-ordinating work to safeguard children from sexual exploitation in each local area; and have published draft guidance to help agencies safeguard children who may have been trafficked. We are currently updating 'Safeguarding Children involved in prostitution', which was originally published in 2000 as supplementary guidance to the 1999 edition of 'Working Together'. The revised guidance will have a wider scope and cover safeguarding children from sexual exploitation more generally.

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