Child Sexual Exploitation - Croydon Congress
26/11/2015 16:01:00......Posted by Yvette Hopley
I attended the Child Sexual Exploitation Conference at Fairfield Halls today. Panel sessions included representations from the Safer London Foundation, Misunderstood Partnership, Missing People, Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and National Crime Agency, Detective Inspector Public Protection Missing Persons, and the Children's Quality Assurance and Safeguarding Service at Croydon Council, along with a number of councillors.
CSE affects both boys and girls and both should be treated as victims of abuse under the Children's Act of 1988 and 2004. Children can be perpetrators as well as victims and they can use their victims to recruit other children and young people into sexual exploitation. The law states that the legal age of consent to sexual activity is 16. Sexual activity with children under the age of 13 is statutory rape. Children are in no position to make informed choices about entering into or remaining in sexually exploitative relationships.
There is a need for young people to explore their sexuality, discuss healthy relationships and tell us when they are scared and feel like they have few options. As a councllor I feel that I have a duty to respond effectively so that we can prevent, protect and disrupt CSE from happening in our community.
In our break-out sessions we felt that education in schools was key along with good parental support and understanding. We were particularly concerned about social media and safe use and protections on all electronic devices that children are now using.
If you suspect a crime in an emergency situation call 999 or if you want to report a safeguarding issue to the council the telephone number is: 020 8726 6400.
Childline has a private and confidential service for children under the age of 19 and calls can be made free on 0800 1111. The NSPCC has trained councillors on hand to speak to if you are worried about a child. The number is: 0808 800 5000.