Enver Solomon, Policy Director at The Children’s Society, said:
'These findings echo The Children's Society's own experiences in projects and through our extensive research. Our recent report Still Running 3 reveals that a child runs from home or care every five minutes, putting themselves at great risk of being sexually exploited.
'We must address this problem as a matter of urgency. Too many children, as young as 11 and 12, are being sexually exploited in the shadows of society. There has been a significant commitment from central government and we must see this translated into real change at a local level. We are calling on everyone whose job it is to protect children, in every local area, to make tackling sexual exploitation - and running away - a top priority.
'Only a quarter of local safeguarding boards in England are implementing government guidance on sexual exploitation appropriately.
'We join with Barnardo’s in calling on local authorities to commit to tackling this shocking crime.'
For more information, please call Paul Martin in The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422, 07810 487 988 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.
Notes to editors
- Over 100,000 children and young people run away each year – that is one every five minutes. Children run away from home for many reasons. Most of the time, it is because they do not feel safe in the very place they should feel most safe – their home. A quarter of them, the equivalent of 70 each day, are forced out of their homes by their parents or carers.
- The Children’s Society has been campaigning to safeguard and protect young runaways for more than 25 years. It has nine projects dedicated to working with children who run away, or are at risk of being sexually exploited, supporting more than 1,000 children every year.
- The Children’s Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life.
- For more information please visit Make Runaways Safe.