How does the criminal justice process affect young victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation?
For young victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation the criminal justice process can be daunting and disempowering, and achieving justice can mean reliving their ordeal.
Specifically, aggressive cross-examination and police interviews can often leave victims feeling not believed, or that they are to blame for their abuse. The process can be complicated and confusing, leading victims to feel a lack of control and excluded from key decisions.
Journey to Justice
Our Journey to Justice report identifies five areas of wellbeing that are central to helping children and young people cope with emotional stress and turmoil - setting them on their path to recovery:
- Sense of self and control
- Relationships/support network
- Safety and safeguarding
- Practical support
- Emotional and physical health
An independent, child-focused worker can deliver these key aspects consistently to support the young person – ensuring that the interests of young victims and witnesses are put first, and their wellbeing is prioritised.
What are we calling for?
Barnardo’s is the leading provider of child sexual exploitation services; supporting victims all the way through the criminal justice process – right up to prosecution and beyond.
But too many children don’t get the support they need. Every victim of child sexual exploitation and abuse deserves access to one-to-one support from an independent practitioner throughout their whole case.
Other resources & key coverage
Follow the campaign on social media with #Journey2Justice.