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.
The making of The Cruel Cut documentary was one of the most challenging tasks I've ever undertaken in my anti-FGM campaigning. My aim has always been to teach the British public the effects of FGM, and how we should all make sure we protect our girls from this vile practice. I feel we achieved that and much more. But the response from the less well-intentioned viewers was to say, 'this is a Muslim issue.' It made me think. Had my message implied that FGM was purely an Islamic affair?
Rape is every country's shame. Violence against women and girls is a truly international disease. Around the world, one woman in three will experience rape or some form of violence in her lifetime. This keeps hundreds of millions of women and girls trapped in poverty, which is why I'm speaking out alongside ActionAid and other organisations who are working tirelessly to provide long-term support programmes for survivors and campaigns to put a stop to violence for good. The fact that women globally came together to mourn Nirbhaya tells us it is all our shame, and all our anger shouts the same message, enough is enough.
Today's overhaul of the guidelines for sexual offences, which the NSPCC has been calling for, is an important step forward in both recognising the harm done to victims and in justice being done.
We live in a society where children are constantly told to "do as their told" without explanation. The mantra "always do as adults say" passed down for generations. So when that means being told to put up with forced sexual activity by an adult and staying quiet about it, guess what sometimes happens?
Those who had been silenced by their experiences and by their abusers for so long because they felt they were in some way to blame, and that they were the only ones, began to realise that there were many others with a story to tell. So why hasn't there been an increase in arrests and charges for cases of child sexual abuse that may have been committed years ago?
There was an article on an Australian website recently on "mild paedophilia" mainly about Richard Dawkins' justification for a bit of sexual groping not having a lasting impact on someone. Most comments under the article disagree with such an irresponsible statement, yet there are those who feel he "has a point".
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.