24 Mar 2016

Responding to the sentencing of footballer Adam Johnson, Peter Grigg, External Affairs Director for The Children’s Society, said:

'An estimated 16,500 children and young people are at high risk of sexual exploitation in our country today. The Government has declared sexual exploitation to be a national threat and the shameful truth is that children are still being groomed for sex up and down the country.

'Cases like this illustrate how children are so vulnerable to grooming, manipulation and abuse. We see from our frontline work with victims that it takes incredible courage for young people to come forward and speak about their experiences. When they do, they must be listened to.

'Parents, professionals and young people must be made aware of the early warning signs so children can be better protected from grooming, abuse and exploitation. There also needs to be more investment in desperately needed therapy for girls and boys traumatised by sexual abuse and exploitation. Vulnerable children and teenagers will continue to suffer until the Government is willing to commit the resources needed to help children recover from the abuse they have experienced.'

ENDS

Media enquiries

For more information, please call The Children’s Society’s media team on 020 7841 4422 or email media@childrenssociety.org.uk.  For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.

Notes to editor

The Children’s Society is a national charity that runs local services, helping children and young people when they are at their most vulnerable, and have nowhere left to turn. We also campaign for changes to laws affecting children and young people, to stop the mistakes of the past being repeated in the future. Our supporters around the country fund our services and join our campaigns to show children and young people they are on their side.