Years of hard campaigning have helped create a better environment for them to come forward. Having opened the public's eyes to the persistent levels of sexual assaults on children - over 31,000 recorded by police in England and Wales last year - it would be a travesty if victims are forced back into silence, fearing they will not be believed when they speak up."
Since becoming an MP in November 2012 I had worked hard to understand child sexual exploitation. Before the Jay report came out I had collaborated with Barnardo's to run a cross-party inquiry into the crime and managed to change both the law and practice to try and counter it. Through all this, I thought I was an expert. In reality, I knew nothing! The scale of abuse in my constituency, 1,400 victims over 16 years, totally floored me.
Child abuse comes in many forms - from neglect to physical, online to sexual - and at the heart of tackling it lies a need to provide a loving and supportive environment for all children. Listening to them properly when they need to be heard and then helping to equip them with an understanding of abuse and develop resilience against it. Preventing abuse before it can take hold is how, together, we will end cruelty to children.
The tragedy of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham and the failure of its public authorities to intervene undoubtedly requires strong and swift action. But the introduction of five commissioners to run the affairs of the council until 2019 denies the citizens of Rotherham their voice in addressing the failures of local public leadership.
In a practical sense, no single remedy can address this endemic issue. Instead a range of solutions, constituting a holistic approach, are required. Firstly, a truly independent inquiry should be commissioned - one which is not led by any of the institutions implicated in the case, and further not implemented by a high profile man or men.
Every day, we work with vulnerable children, many of whom have experienced or are at risk of child sexual exploitation. This horrific abuse has affected a number of children supported by our services, whether related to risks to those in residential or foster care, or to young parents receiving our help. Awareness must be raised and professionals, children, and their carers must be educated about the risks around exploitation, as well as ways to guard against it.