I think it is time to prioritise child abuse as a public health issue like heart disease, smoking and obesity. These diseases get a high profile in part because they have a cost, not only in human misery but also for the economy. The NSPCC is currently researching the economic costs to the UK of child sexual abuse and it is likely that it will be billions of pounds of year.
It would be naïve to suggest that we can completely eradicate child sexual exploitation. Like any other crime it will continue to be committed while there remain individuals intent on committing it. However what we can do is ensure that we put in place a legal framework that has the welfare of young victims at its heart. It is my hope that this inquiry will help to achieve this.
Child sexual abuse images and videos are nearly always a symptom of abuse. In many instances they are instrumental in building to the physical abuse of a child. As horrifying as this may be, the digital trail of this kind of content presents an opportunity to find and prevent abuse. By tracking the symptom, we can tackle the problem.
Jimmy Savile was a "predatory, serial sex offender" but he did not "groom the nation". He was allowed to continue abusing because he was a 'celebrity'. Pretending that he "groomed the nation" allows those who knew to minimise and deflect their guilt. Those who knew and did nothing are guilty of helping Savile in sexually assaulting hundreds of children and adults. I say hundreds but we will never know how many. The term "grooming the nation" only serves to silence victims. It serves those predatory, serial sex offenders who are still harming people.