Sexual exploitation is a particularly disturbing form of child abuse, targeting vulnerable boys and girls, both older and younger, from stable and affluent homes as well as from less advantaged backgrounds, in urban and rural communities. Since 2010 the scale of this abuse has become much clearer, and in November 2011 the Government prioritised the eradication of child sexual exploitation through its ‘Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation Action Plan’.
Building on recommendations by Barnardos and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), the Action Plan underlined the need to raise awareness and understanding of child sexual exploitation amongst front-line practitioners and parents to ensure that the early warning signs of grooming or coercion are recognised and acted upon immediately. Whilst seeking to ensure that vulnerable children particularly at risk of exploitation are properly safeguarded, the action plan also advocated that children be taught about healthy relationships and how to stay safe both online and in their community.
Following concerns that many local areas are not identifying child sexual exploitation, the Action Plan stressed that every Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) must act to establish the severity of the problem in their areas and take steps urgently to tackle it effectively, working with local partners to develop a robust multi-agency strategy and ensure universal provision of services for victims.
Pledging justice and support for victims and their families, the Action Plan also underlined the need to improve police, prosecution and court practice, particularly in supporting victims to act as witnesses, in order to secure sound prosecutions against individuals, groups and gangs.
One year on from the launch of the Action Plan, the Government’s ‘Child Sexual Exploitation Action Plan - Progress Report’ (July 2012) commends progress at both the national and local level. Several successful police operations have been followed by almost two-thirds of Local Authorities pledging to develop local action plans, and a new report into child sexual exploitation in gangs and groups by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner is due shortly. However, the Government and leading organisations are clear that there is still much work to be done.
This timely symposium provides an invaluable opportunity for front-line practitioners from the police, social services, health, education and third sector, to examine the next steps to deliver the key themes of the Government’s action plan: raising awareness and understanding; effective prevention and detection; securing robust prosecutions; and improving support for victims and their families.
Receive an update on the national action plan and explore the next steps in tackling child sexual exploitation nationally and locally
Discuss how to raise awareness and understanding amongst practitioners, parents and children to improve prevention and early detection
Examine how to deliver a child-centred system, with improved services for victims and support throughout the CJS
Consider how to better help victims and their families to recover and secure justice
Share vital best practice in monitoring, tackling and preventing child sexual exploitation
||Registration and Morning Refreshments
Chair’s Welcome and Introduction
Panel Session One: Preventing Child Sexual Exploitation – Raising Awareness, Strengthening Resilience
- The National Child Sexual Exploitation Action Plan One Year On – Examining Progress Made, Challenges to Face and Identifying the Next Steps
- Understanding Child Exploitation – Building a National Picture, Mapping and Monitoring the Level of Risk and Exploitation in Every Local Area
- Raising Awareness of Sexual Exploitation Amongst Children, Parents, Practitioners and the Public
- Educating Young People About Healthy Relationships, Sexual Consent and Non-Violence, Strengthening Children’s Resilience Against Bullying and Exploitation Online
- Safeguarding and Promoting the Welfare of Children Particularly Vulnerable to Exploitation – Identifying Risk Factors
||Morning Coffee Break
Open Floor Discussion and Debate with Panel One
Panel Session Two: Stopping Perpetrators and Securing Justice for Victims and their Families – Strengthening Multi-Agency Responses
- Working with Partners to Monitor, Tackle and Prevent Child Sexual Exploitation Across and Between Local Areas – Developing and Delivering a Multi-Agency Strategy
- Getting the First Response Right – Training All Front-Line Practitioners to Identify Exploitation and Grooming and Respond Swiftly to Stop Abuse and Collect Evidence
- Delivering a Child-Centred System – Improving Statutory Responses and the Provision of Services for Young People Suffering Sexual Abuse
- Getting Justice – Supporting Victims and Vulnerable/Intimidated Witnesses through the CJS System and Securing Robust Prosecutions
- Helping Victims and their Families to Recover – Improving Access to Mental Health Services, Accommodation and Care
Afternoon Coffee Break
Open Floor Discussion and Debate with Panel Two
Chair’s Summary and Closing Comments
Who Should Attend?
•Directors of Children's Services
•Children's Services and Families Services Officers
•Social Workers and Social Services Officers
•Local Safeguarding Children Boards
•Looked-After Children Teams
•Child Protection Teams
•Missing Persons Units
•Children's Trusts and Children's Centres
•Children's Health Service Professionals
•Child and Adolescent Mental Health Practitioners
•Drug and Alcohol Action Teams
•Teenage Pregnancy and Sexual Health Co-ordinators
•Teachers and Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators
•Local Education Authorities
•Children and Youth Services
•Parental Engagement Practitioners
•Police Child Protection Officers
•Social Networking Providers
•Behaviour and Attendance Teams
•Criminal Justice Practitioners
•Community Development Managers
•Housing Officers and Associations
•Social Exclusion and Neighbourhood Renewal Teams
•Youth Workers and Youth Offending Teams
•Community Safety Teams
•Community Support Officers
•Domestic Violence Coordinators
•DfE, DoH, UKBA, FCO, SOCA, Home Office, CPS and other Central Government Departments and Agencies
•Local Authority Officers and Councillors
•Third Sector Practitioners
•Academics and Researchers
For further information about this event or to book your place, please visit the Public Policy Exchange website.