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.
I reject the racial link between the criminal's and their victims, in this case being mainly Pakistani men sexually abusing white girls. The role of race has no relevance to this act of sexual deviancy, just like it has no relevance with the prolific child sex abuse cases involving Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris, Roman Catholic priests and the British political establishment.