Barnardo’s Scotland has launched its report on ‘Public Understanding of Child Sexual Exploitation’ in Inverness with Children’s Minister Maree Todd on Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day
- Barnardo’s Scotland Report found those responded to a YouGov poll found that child sexual abuse happens in their local area
- Daljeet Dagon from Barnardo’s Scotland: “It is very concerning that the public just doesn’t recognise some behaviours as being abusive and exploitative.”
- Children’s Minister Maree Todd: “Child sexual exploitation is everyone’s responsibility.”
- The report highlights the lack of public awareness of how to identify those children who are sexually abused
- Barnardo’s Scotland’s Daljeet Dagon: “In our Child Sexual Exploitation awareness-raising work staff working within the business sector in particular often tell us that they feel anxious as they don’t know what to do if they do have concerns or whom to share them with, often assuming that concerns are not high enough to bother police colleagues with.”
- in 2014, the Scottish Government published its first national plan on child sexual abuse, in which they will work alongside statutory and third-party organisations to carry out its actions
NEW RESEARCH from a children’s charity has found that the public still thinks that the sexual abuse of children does not happen in their local area.
The report from Barnardo’s Scotland has found that there is a significant barrier to identifying children that are being sexually exploited in Scotland, with many people believing that it does not happen in their local area.
The survey revealed that less than half of those responded, to a YouGov poll, have thought that child sexual exploitation (CSE) was a very or fairly significant issue in their local area, but those responded from the Highland and Islands thought that child sexual exploitation was not a significant issue in their local area.
Daljeet Dagon, National Programme Manager for Child Sexual Exploitation for Barnardo’s Scotland, said: “It is very concerning that the public just doesn’t recognise some behaviours as being abusive and exploitative.
“We know from our services that child sexual exploitation is an issue across Scotland. We know from our research that public understanding of CSE is complex and the perception of what constitutes as child sexual exploitation differs between men and women. We also know that when it is recognised, it is often not acknowledged in relation to boys and young men.”
The Scottish Government will join the children’s charity today on Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day to support the the report on the public understating of child sexual exploitation.
Maree Todd, Minister for Children & Young People, said: “Child sexual exploitation is everyone’s responsibility. For it to be preventable, it requires everyone to play a part in acknowledging that it isn’t only an urban issue and that sadly it can happen anywhere.
“We hope that by talking about this issue, more people will be able to recognise instances of exploitation occurring, and have the confidence to report it to the authorities to protect the wellbeing of children.”
The report has highlighted the lack of public awareness of when a child has been sexually exploited such as children carrying out the exploitation and those 16 and 17-year-old children can be victims.
The recent survey carried by YouGov on behalf of the children’s charity has highlighted the outdated attitudes that still exist with people being more relaxed about boys being groomed or abused by an older woman
They are concerned that men are more disengaged with the topic of child sexual exploitation with a significantly higher number say that they “don’t know” compared to women when asked the same question on the survey.
The children’s charity is aware of the importance of providing the public with the relevant information about what to do to achieve the appropriate change in people’s attitudes as well as recognising that there is a problem in society.
Barnardo’s Scotland and Police Scotland have recently delivered a week-long series of workshops in Orkney to raise awareness of the issue. The workshops were offered to S1 to S6 pupils, parents and carers, professional and local organisations who are in contact with young people.
Dagon added: “In our Child Sexual Exploitation awareness-raising work staff working within the business sector in particular often tell us that they feel anxious as they don’t know what to do if they do have concerns or whom to share them with, often assuming that concerns are not high enough to bother police colleagues with. This clearly highlighted a gap in which the public could share their worries and information; we knew this needed to be addressed, so we launched our Nightwatch Hotline in December in partnership with Crimestoppers which provides a safe and secure way for the public to share any worries or concerns they have.”
In 2014, the Scottish Government published its first national plan to prevent child sexual exploitation that sets out actions to be taken alongside statutory and third sector organisations. According to the Scottish Government, this will strengthen Scotland’s response to this type of child abuse.
Some of the activities that have taken to date include setting up the National Child Sexual Exploitation Group, guidance for those who are involved with children and raising awareness of child sexual exploitation.
Picture courtesy of Summer Skyes 11