Offences against Children

Home Office written question – answered on 30th July 2020.

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Photo of Chris Elmore Chris Elmore Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Minister (Scotland)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to improve the identification of children who are sexually abused and are (a) aged under 10, (b) LGBTQ+, (c) disabled and (d) BAME.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women

We are committed to tackling all forms of child sexual abuse.

The Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse provides practical support to commissioners and frontline professionals across local authorities, police, health services and the voluntary sector; embedding what works to prevent and tackle child sexual abuse, for all groups of children, into practice. This includes looking into additional barriers to identification, such as age, disability, sexuality or ethnicity.

We have worked with the College of Policing, providing £1.9m of funding to develop a more comprehensive package of training for first responders, so they are better able to identify signs of vulnerability and provide support to victims. We have also funded the police’s own Vulnerability Knowledge and Practice Programme to develop policing best practice in response to vulnerability as a whole. We are also working with the police to strengthen their response to vulnerability through multi-agency safeguarding partnerships. The partnerships will lead to better protection for all vulnerable children and young people, through clearer strategic decision-making and sharing of expertise across safeguarding agencies.

We are determined that all children who experience sexual abuse, regardless of age, background, or disability can access the support they need to help them in their recovery. We have recently launched a CSA support service transformation fund which will promote best practice and improve the quality of support to children from diverse backgrounds. We have also published guidance for commissioners of CSA support services which underlines the importance of commissioning services that meet the needs of all children in the local community who have experienced sexual abuse.

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