Posted: 10 September 2015

Helping those who are especially vulnerable to child sexual exploitation

Working with young people who are being sexually exploited can be challenging in lots of ways.  Many young people don’t know that they are being abused, or have become dependent on their abuser - maybe for drink, drugs or money … or maybe for what they see as some positive affection when this is missing from their lives.

When a young person finds it hard to understand the world around them, or to communicate clearly, this can make them especially vulnerable to harm and exploitation – and make it even more difficult to protect them.

'He said it was a secret'

‘Tom’,  a 15-year-old we interviewed for our new research, spoke about the 37-year-old who had sexually exploited him:

‘He said it was a secret … he said that lots of people thought that people with autism shouldn’t have boyfriends or girlfriends and that they would be angry with me if they knew I had a boyfriend.’ 

Tom kept this secret for a long time before working with a specialist project and revealing what had happened to him. He is now safe, but our research explains how young people with learning disabilities (or conditions on the autistic spectrum, like Tom) can find typical teenage desires and urges can put them at higher risk than other young people, often because adults don’t make sure they know about relationships, sex and choice.

more...

Read our joint report

Our Unprotected, Overprotected joint report reveals that significant numbers of children with learning disabilities are not being adequately protected from sexual exploitation.

The study brought together five organisations in a unique collaboration to find out more about the issue.  We focused on how to better support individual young people who were being sexually exploited or were at high risk, and looked into what needs to change in how society treats young people with learning disabilities so that they can become safer in the future. 

Our recommendations and findings

Amongst other things, the report recommends that all schools should provide sex and relationships education that all young people, including those with learning disabilities, can understand.

This needs to include accessible information around sexuality and sexual orientation.  as part of a broader approach to safeguarding, including information about internet safety, awareness of exploitation and consent.  

In addition, the evidence we collected suggests that the child protection taskforce announced by the prime minister in June should be given the responsibility for leading improvements across police, social services and other agencies in responding to children and young people with learning disabilities affected by CSE.

Read more in our report.

more...

Read our joint report

Our Unprotected, Overprotected joint report reveals that significant numbers of children with learning disabilities are not being adequately protected from sexual exploitation.
more...

Read more

What we can do to stop child sexual exploitation

Posted: 4 March 2015

more...

Read more

Helping to keep children safe in Lancashire

Posted: 13 March 2015