child sexual exploitation
There is a paradox in the way that we currently deal with sex offenders; a contradiction that is putting innocent people in harm's way, and stopping us from preventing these horrible crimes from happening.
Crimes Against Children Are Now Being Exposed, But the Challenges in Keeping Future Generations Safe Are Myriad and Complex
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.
It's a year since I arrived at Barnardo's and I can honestly say I feel very humbled to be chief executive of this great charity. It's been a challenging year for sure but also a hugely rewarding one.
Our shocking findings show that an estimated 12,000 16 and 17-year-olds - enough to fill Wembley arena - have asked their council for help in finding a new home for them. But more than half are turned away without even being assessed.
As the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire, I am utilising my position as leader in the local area to take action against child sexual exploitation.
With hope, the Government's publication of the Savile reports will emphasise the importance - to children, adults working with children and those who may have suffered abuse in the past - of both listening and speaking out. No one should face the terrors of abuse alone.
Recent weeks have given us a sobering reminder of the dreadful impact of child sexual exploitation. The further revelations regarding Rotherham coupled with the announcements of new investigations in Manchester, Halifax and Essex, reinforce the belief that we are only beginning to scratch the surface of this emerging national blight.
The charity Railway Children, which works with children who run away and end up on the streets, this week launches the report Reaching Safe Places. Funded by the charity's corporate partner Aviva, the report also involved a group of young researchers with personal experience of running away and homelessness.
I cannot imagine there are sensible adults who want to live in a culture in which child sexual exploitation is a new social norm in some or any communities. Yet there are sensible adults who are not doing all they can to make sure we develop a healthy and positive culture about young people, sex and sexuality.
The number of British children reported as being trafficked for sex or forced labour within the UK has surged in the last