Barnardo's is hugely proud of its 20-year history in placing the serious crime of child sexual exploitation, (CSE), firmly in the spotlight.
Last year alone we supported 3,430 children, young people, parents and carers through our specialist UK-wide CSE services and raised awareness about this crime in communities across the length and breadth of the UK.
We are proud of our work. But with our focus on our first duty to vulnerable children and young people, we will never be complacent or refuse to change the way we do things.
As the biggest provider of 40 plus CSE services, we know first-hand that CSE is rapidly evolving in the real and virtual world and we understand that the practices and tools needed to tackle it have to keep pace with this change, along with robust and evidence based analysis to enable effective design and delivery of services.
For all these reasons we welcome Research in Practice's (RiP)'s important report today, highlighting the need for constant innovation in designing and delivering the relevant assessment tools, services, products and resources across the sector. It will help inform all of us working on the front line develop and deploy effective ways to tackle the serious crime of CSE and understand how best to keep children from harm.
As a learning organisation we are reviewing elements of our own ways of working so they can be as effective, robust and impactful as possible.
We are aware there is more we need to learn about how to tackle this vastly complex form of child sexual abuse and understand how to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Our firm commitment to prevent child sexual abuse and exploitation is evidenced by our public commitment to innovate and evaluate our impact around this work as part of our 10 year corporate strategy.
We have dragged this previously taboo issue from the shadows and helped eradicate the damaging term of 'child prostitute' previously used to describe the victims of this crime.
We've raised awareness about CSE among thousands of children and young people, their parents and carers, frontline workers, communities and schools.
We have trained thousands of professionals and night time economy workers to be able to recognise the possible signs of CSE and know how to respond.
We have successfully campaigned for high quality age-appropriate lessons on relationships and sex to be mandatory in all schools in England to help children recognise healthy and consensual relationships.
We see significant and positive change in the children we work with on a daily basis but we want to do more.
This is a great opportunity for those of us working in the field of CSE to develop a better understanding of what works, so the best practices can be implemented to tackle abuse and exploitation.
We will continue to support and challenge as necessary, all our statutory and other partners in taking the same rigorous approach to evidence-based learning that this report exemplifies.
Our focus will always be on how best we can protect children and young people and help prevent CSE.