27 Jun 2013

In response to today’s sentencing at the Old Bailey of seven men found guilty of seriously sexually exploiting six girls in Oxford, The Children’s Society chief executive, Matthew Reed, said:

'For eight years these men carried out the most horrific abuse, acting as if they would never be held to account for their crimes.

'Perhaps the saddest thing in today’s case is that the abuse was not stopped when it could have been; warning signs were repeatedly missed and children’s  cries for help ignored.

Years of long-term abuse

'We must make sure that we never see a repeat of the years of long-term abuse and many missed opportunities we have seen in Oxford and in places like Rochdale and Rotherham. 

'Care homes, the police, social workers and health workers all need to get better at spotting the signs of abuse. And they need to urgently change their attitude to vulnerable, exploited teenage girls, who are being routinely dismissed as ‘troublesome’ or ‘promiscuous’ or as having made life style choices.'

The Children’s Society has several programmes which directly support hundreds of children and young people who are victims or at risk of sexual exploitation.

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Notes to editors

  • 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. 
  • We have six programmes across the country that work with children at risk on the streets, six that work with children in care and one that works with children involved in gangs
  • Last year our projects across the country supported 556 children that were victims of - or at a high risk of – sexual exploitation.