Parliament's Petition Committee commitment to tackling Child Sexual Exploitation in Scotland
Release Date: 18/09/2012
Barnardo's Scotland welcomes the decision of the Scottish parliament's petition committee today, 18 September 2012 to carry out an inquiry into child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Scotland.
Barnardo’s Scotland launched a petition on CSE 18 months ago, highlighting that CSE is a particularly hidden form of child sexual abuse, and that more work needs to be done to tackle it in Scotland. In Barnardo’s experience child sexual exploitation can take a variety of forms, from organised exploitation by gangs, to informal exchanges of sex for drugs, alcohol or accommodation. However, whatever form it takes, children who are sexually exploited often suffer severe trauma and psychological damage.
Committee convenor David Stewart MSP highlighted the cross-cutting nature of the issues raised by Barnardo's Scotland, and suggested that an inquiry would be the appropriate next step in the petition process. Other committee members noted the increasing concern around CSE in Scotland; the difficulty young victims can have in escaping from their exploitation and the importance of social media. Barnardo's Scotland services that seek to tackle CSE were also praised by members.
Martin Crewe, Director of Barnardo’s Scotland said
“We are very pleased the petitions committee has decided to conduct a full inquiry into the sexual exploitation of children in Scotland. This follows the Barnardo’s Scotland Petition to the Parliament, which was supported by over 3000 people from across Scotland. Our work with young victims of CSE shows that the sexual exploitation of children in Scotland is becoming increasingly organised. That is why we urgently need more information about the nature and scale of CSE in Scotland, and concerted action to tackle it. The Petitions committee has carried out influential inquiries in response to petitions in the past, and we hope this inquiry will also lead to a change in the way we deal with CSE in Scotland.”
Notes to Editors
Children’s Charity, Barnardo’s Scotland, lodged a petition with the Scottish Parliament on 15 June 2011. The petition, ‘Cut them free’ - Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation in Scotland’, is calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to commission new research on the nature and scope of child sexual exploitation in Scotland, as well as update government guidance for statutory bodies dealing with these issues.
Scottish Government guidance Vulnerable Children and Young People Sexual Exploitation Through Prostitution 2003 ISBN 0 7559 0923 2. Page 5 point 7: ‘Research will be commissioned by the Scottish Executive as a priority on the scope of the problem in Scotland to raise general awareness amongst professionals working with children. It is important that this research also addresses the needs of young men involved in sexual exploitation.’