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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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Government child protection policy

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The following was carried by Central Lobby in advance of a Parliamentary debate held by Meg Munn MP.

Child protection scandals generate a lot of media coverage, leading to the sexual abuse of children being in the spotlight. However this issue is not confined to history, nor only involves celebrities as perpetrators.

Children are being abused, by family members, their peers and in institutions meant to care for them. The focus for professionals and politicians, the media and the public must be on the children who are suffering now.

We know that 90% of children who have suffered sexual abuse have been abused by someone they know, with the vast majority taking place in the family home. In 2012/13 the NSPCC’s ChildLine service found that nearly half of the young people who rang about sexual abuse said the perpetrator was a family member. 

Social workers, teachers and other practitioners must be trained to recognise the indicators of intra-familial sexual abuse, know how to communicate with the child, and give them the space and time to explain what has happened.  

Abuse in young people’s romantic relationships appears to be increasing, as does sexual coercion within gangs. The number of reported sex offences by under 18s has risen by 38% since 2009/10 and two thirds of sexual abuse is perpetrated by under 18s.  

The Jimmy Savile scandal shocked the nation about the extent of abuse in institutions. Dynamics of power and secrecy so often present in incidences of abuse are magnified within an institutional setting. These factors make it even more important that strong safeguarding policies exist, alongside a clear culture of communicating with, and listening to, children.

In autumn 2013, the Child Protection All-Party Parliamentary Group launched a seminar series to look at these areas

        intra-familial abuse,

        peer to peer sexual abuse, including young people’s harmful sexual behaviour, and

        the prevention of child sexual abuse within institutions.

We invited experts and front line practitioners to share their knowledge so that we could better understand what needs to be done to better support children. However the most powerful testimony was listening to the experiences of children who had been sexually abused.

Our findings show that the complicated relationship between different forms of abuse necessitates a unified response. This is not currently happening.

Without a clear coherent approach which links work across government departments we fear that children will not receive the support they require, and that opportunities to prevent problems occurring are being missed.

Our report outlined six key recommendations to bring the focus back to all aspects of sexual abuse, and promote a clear and consistent approach to protecting children and young people.

These recommendations must be set in the context of greater inter-ministerial working which sets action plans for all areas to ensure that every child who has experienced sexual abuse gets the support they need. It is only in this context - a joined up action plan - that a truly preventative model can be developed.

Meg Munn MP

Chair of the Child Protection All-Party Parliamentary Group

 

The full report and recommendations are on the NSPCC’s website:

http://www.nspcc.org.uk/Inform/policyandpublicaffairs/england/consultations/APPG-CSA-seminars_wdf102423.pdf

 


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