22 Oct 2014

Responding to South Yorkshire Police's decision to investigate claims that it let down hundreds of young people at risk of child sexual exploitation in Sheffield, Lily Caprani, Director of Strategy at The Children’s Society, said:

'These allegations are alarming and it’s absolutely right that South Yorkshire Police investigate them thoroughly. The police inquiries must be transparent and the findings made public. It’s crucial that while the force looks into claims of police misconduct the primary focus must be the welfare of victims, bringing abusers to justice, and making sure the best systems are in place to effectively protect all children.

'We know from our work with hundreds of victims of child sex abuse that far too many are still being let down by the very organisations who are supposed to be protecting them. Children need to be listened to and taken seriously but sadly we find that, too often, their calls for help are ignored and they are forced to live with the consequences of abuse for the rest of their lives.

'There needs to be adequate training for all staff working with children. Agencies must work together more effectively to protect all children and make sure they are safe from the perpetrators of sex abuse. Adequate resources must be put in place to protect all children regardless of the challenges caused by strained budgets or other priorities. You cannot put a price on children’s safety.'

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Notes to editors:

  • The Children’s Society has helped change children’s stories for over a century. We expose injustice and address hard truths, tackling child poverty and neglect head-on. We fight for change based on the experiences of every child we work with and the solid evidence we gather. Through our campaigning, commitment and care, we are determined to give every child in this country the greatest possible chance in life.