Preventive measures for the protection of children against sexual abuse

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Presentation by Jenny Pearce (National Working Group for sexually exploited children and young people) on the occasion of the EESC hearing on 'Protection of children against sexual abuse'

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Preventive measures for the protection of children against sexual abuse

  1. 1. Preventive measures for the protection of children against sexual abuse [email_address] www.jennypearce.info NB: not to be reproduced or quoted without prior permission of author
  2. 2. Focus on: <ul><ul><li>Prevention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Children in the 13 to 18 age group </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Defining child sexual exploitation (DCSF 2009) <ul><li>Sexual exploitation of children and young people under 18 involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people (or a third person or persons) receive ‘something’ (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of performing, and/or others performing on them, sexual activities </li></ul>
  4. 4. Defining child sexual exploitation (Continued) <ul><li>Child sexual exploitation can occur through use of technology without the child’s immediate recognition, for example the persuasion to post sexual images on the internet/mobile phones with no immediate payment or gain. In all cases those exploiting the child/young person have power over them by virtue of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or economic or other resources </li></ul>
  5. 5. Young people’s definition of sexual exploitation (Pearce 2009) <ul><li>‘ Why shouldn't I’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ its someone taking a part of you’ (aged 15) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ He told me he’d bash up my face.’ (aged 12) </li></ul><ul><li> ‘ I was sexually abused by my dad, so it makes no difference if I do it with strangers, at least I get paid.’ (aged 15) </li></ul><ul><li>  ‘ I was promised some designer trainers and jeans.’ (aged12) </li></ul><ul><li> ‘ I’d be walking to and from school and he’d make me get in and then drive me off to parks, back streets or a flat. I couldn’t tell my family as it would bring such shame on my family, and he knew that.’ (aged 14) </li></ul><ul><li> ‘ He said no one else would ever want me.’ (aged 13) </li></ul><ul><li> ‘ He said he’d buy me a teddy.’ (aged 12) </li></ul>
  6. 6. 1885 Pall Mall Gazette <ul><li>The ‘social evil’ of 1885 was the presence of </li></ul><ul><li>an organised traffic and the widespread </li></ul><ul><li>existence of juvenile prostitution in London </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Council of Europe Prevention of sexual violence against children. <ul><li>Important contribution to raising the profile of sexually abused children in Europe </li></ul><ul><li>Rappertour’s report notes: </li></ul><ul><li>Diversity of forms of abuse : different forms of sexual violence, prevalence within all communities </li></ul><ul><li>Recognition of needs of all age groups: older young people can be victims of abuse </li></ul><ul><li>Child perpetrators are often child victims </li></ul><ul><li>UNCRC overrides variations in age of consent </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.coe.int </li></ul>
  8. 8. Forms of exploitation: ( Scott and Skidmore 2006, Pearce 2010, Jago 2010, Firmin 2010) <ul><li>adult on child and peer on peer sexual exploitation, </li></ul><ul><li>Trafficking of children for sexual activity </li></ul><ul><li>organised and random crime, </li></ul><ul><li>internet abuse, </li></ul><ul><li>connections with : </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>domestic servitude, </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>criminality </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>gang and drug related sexual violence </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Forced marriage </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. What we know about the victims of child sexual exploitation (Barnardos 2011, Brodie et al 2011) <ul><li>age – often begins at age 12 or 13 </li></ul><ul><li>gender – girls and boys </li></ul><ul><li>ethnicity – affects all communities </li></ul><ul><li>vulnerability – particularly young people in and leaving care, young people with drug and alcohol problems, young people who go missing,and those with learning disabilities </li></ul>
  10. 10. Gang affected neighbourhoods (Pearce and Pitts 2011) <ul><li>London Metropolitan police reported 93 gang rapes in 2008/9 (compared to 36 in 2003/4) </li></ul><ul><li>36% victims in 2008 were aged 15 or under </li></ul><ul><li>42% of suspects were under 19 in 2008 compared to 38% in 2003 </li></ul>
  11. 11. Sexual abuse and sexual exploitation (NSPCC 2011) <ul><li>NSPCC prevalence study on extent of child sexual abuse </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Police in England and Wales recorded a sex crime every 20 minutes in 2010 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More than 23,000 offences, including rape, incest and gross indecency were logged in 2009-10: most reports concerned children aged 12 to 15 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Girls continue to be 6 times more likely to known victims of sexual assault </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Whets going on to prevent child sexual exploitation (Jago and Pearce 2010) <ul><li>Interim findings : </li></ul><ul><li>under 30% of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCB) report they are meeting the dual aims of protecting children and prosecuting abusers from Child sexual exploitation </li></ul><ul><li>Protocols for protecting children are evident in less than ¼ LSCBs </li></ul><ul><li>LSCBs and community safety (CS) strategies rarely collaborate </li></ul><ul><li>LSCB = focus child protection, CS= focus youth crime and gangs </li></ul><ul><li>BUT: examples of excellent practice with data, multi agency work and preventative interventions . </li></ul>
  13. 13. Going Missing: trafficked and sexually exploited <ul><li>Of 330 cases : 55% went missing (CEOP 2007) ; </li></ul><ul><li>Of 80 cases from The North West, North East and West </li></ul><ul><li>Midlands: 60% went missing from LA care ( ECPAT2007); </li></ul><ul><li>Of 60 cases from Sussex: over half went missing within </li></ul><ul><li>One week of arrival (Harris and Robinson 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Since 2000, 118 UASC have gone missing from care in </li></ul><ul><li>West Sussex: Over half are suspected victims of trafficking </li></ul><ul><li>(Harris and Robinson 2007) </li></ul>
  14. 14. Prevalence: unreliable data available <ul><li>lack of awareness: exploitation not understood by practitioners and so cases are not identified </li></ul><ul><li>poor disclosure rates: children </li></ul><ul><ul><li>do not recognise exploitation, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>are afraid to disclose, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>are coerced into keeping secrets, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>are cynical that anything positive will result from disclosure </li></ul></ul><ul><li>inadequate recording processes: different definitions used, agencies vary in recording methods, data not collated from different sources, ‘typically’ the projects working with exploited young people are poorly funded and do not have the resources to record data accurately . </li></ul>
  15. 15. Messages for interventions (Pearce 2010) <ul><li>Child protection services must take the lead ... </li></ul><ul><li>...within a multi agency context : Health, Youth Justice, Education ... </li></ul><ul><li>...linked into local and global contexts: young people in local and global formal economies and young people in local and global informal economies </li></ul>
  16. 16. Results of Policing and Multi agency work in the UK www.nationalworkinggroup.co.uk Member’s newsletter June 2011 <ul><li>Manchester : 6 men arrested, 30 potential victims, 100 detectives </li></ul><ul><li>Rochdale: 8 men arrested, charges include rape, paying for sexual services of a child, </li></ul><ul><li>Birmingham: one man with 40 alleged cases of grooming 22 girls aged 12 to 15 on the internet </li></ul><ul><li>Telford: 9 men charged with more than 50 charges of rape, child 7 girls under 16, one aged 13 at time of alleged rape </li></ul><ul><li>Somerset: primary school teacher pleaded guilty to charges of sexually abusing 5 children in his classroom: 36 sexual offences , 22 counts of sexually assaulting a child </li></ul>
  17. 17. Prevention: listening to the voice of the child <ul><li>‘ They lump us all together. Generalise’. </li></ul><ul><li>‘ They think we are stupid’. </li></ul><ul><li>‘ They talk to you like you are a baby and are quiet surprised when you show intelligence’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ They looked at me like I was dirt when I came to my case review’ </li></ul>
  18. 18. Do we like ‘difficult’ young people? (Pearce 2009) <ul><li>Demonization of young people: fear, loathing and negative images (Coleman 2011) </li></ul><ul><li>Practitioner’s described sexually exploited children and young people as : </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lying </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Uncooperative </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Difficult to engage </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Unreliable </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Aggressive and abusive </li></ul></ul></ul>
  19. 19. UN Violence Against Children Marta Santos: UN Special representative of the secretary general on violence against children: address to The Council of Europe Launch of the ‘One in five ‘ campaign: to prevent sexual violence against children (www.coe.int) <ul><li>“ Children are at times blamed for what has happened, coerced to keep it a secret and often stigmatized and marginalised by their families and communities”,. </li></ul><ul><li>Situations of armed conflict create a favourable environment for impunity . Sexual violence as a tactic of war and a means to terrorise civilians is used in modern day conflicts </li></ul><ul><li>Children are the most vulnerable yet they are the least protected. </li></ul><ul><li>Violence against children is preventable. Investing efforts and resources in prevention is the most effective means to reduce violence against children. </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Kim Bromley-Derry, chair of Children and Young People's interagency group (CIAG) </li></ul><ul><li>in ‘Children and young people now’ UK Dec 09 </li></ul><ul><li>adolescents are a high risk group. There is a danger that we focus too much on the risk to babies and very young children… a number of services for young people, including youth offending services, tend to come into effect “after the horse has bolted” </li></ul>
  21. 21. Constructions of Childhood (Coleman 2011) <ul><li>Variations in understanding of sexual activity and sexual violence </li></ul><ul><li>Variations in rites of passage: </li></ul><ul><li>Age of consent to sexual activity: from 13 to 18 years old and Age of criminal responsibility: from 10 to 18 years old across different European countries. </li></ul><ul><li>Variations in ‘representations’ of youth: child victims verses child soldiers </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>Young People’s participation </li></ul><ul><li>(Warrington 2010, Coleman 2011) </li></ul><ul><li>Bi – directionality: what the young person does impacts on the practitioner and vice versa: it is not a one way process </li></ul><ul><li>‘ information management’: young people control what they say to practitioners </li></ul><ul><li>Models of participation: ‘consultation’ and ‘partnership’ (power sharing) verses ‘empirical model’ (power dominating) </li></ul><ul><li>Participation is a political process of consultation, empowerment and awareness raising </li></ul>
  23. 23. Thomas (in Pearce et al 2009) <ul><li>Thomas,16-year-old white British boy, history of neglect, had been abused by his uncle and cousin. Mother was unable to care for him; Number of placement breakdowns </li></ul><ul><li>Involved with older men : suspicion he was given money for sex. Problems with alcohol and cannabis use. Often went missing: returned with large amounts of cash, mobile phones and expensive items. He didn’t want to talk about what was happening </li></ul><ul><li>Overseas travel of between two and six weeks was arranged by men friends. Alongside concerns over sexual exploitation, suspicions that he might have been involved with drug traffickers. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  24. 24. Thomas (continued) <ul><li>Journeys often staggered: he was sent to a country, refused entry, received instructions to move to another country where given further tickets for travel. </li></ul><ul><li>The Sexual Exploitation Unit became involved. Took his passport to prevent him leaving the country </li></ul><ul><li>Thomas did not see himself as being trafficked. When asked if he thought that he was at risk and he asked ‘why social worker worried about me now when they didn’t care that my uncle abused me’. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Themes Construction of childhood: perceptions of youth, perceptions of violence Changing nature of adolescence and changing nature of abuse Perpetrator/victim: oppositions and connections Child centred perspectives: collaboration with young people.
  26. 26. References <ul><li>Barnarods (2011) ‘Puppet on a string’ London, Barnardos </li></ul><ul><li>Brodie, I., Pearce, J and Warrington, C (2011) ‘ Safe accommodation for sexually exploited and trafficked children and young people ’ London, NSPCC </li></ul><ul><li>CEOP, (2007), A Scoping Project on Child Trafficking in the UK, Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, London. </li></ul><ul><li>  Coleman (2011) The Nature of Adolescence London , Routledge </li></ul><ul><li>DCSF (2009) Safeguarding children and young people from sexual exploitation. London: HMSO </li></ul><ul><li>ECPAT UK, (2007), Missing Out: A Study of Child Trafficking in the Northwest, Northeast and West Midlands, ECPAT UK, London. </li></ul><ul><li>Firmin C. (2010) The Female Voice in Violence , London, Race on the Agenda (ROTA) </li></ul><ul><li>Harris, J and Robinson, B (2007) Tipping the iceberg: a pan Sussex study of young people at risk of sexual exploitation and trafficking: final report. Barkingside, Barnardos. www,barnardos.org.uk </li></ul>
  27. 27. References (continued) <ul><li>Jago 2010 ‘ Safeguarding Future Generations: Challenging and Prosecuting Perpetrators’ in Youth and Policy no 104 June 2010 Special issue , Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Children and Young People : Contemporary Debates (eds) Pearce J and Melrose M : 48-62 </li></ul><ul><li>Jago and Pearce (2010) What’s going on to protect children from sexual exploitation: Interim findings, University of Bedfordshire, UK ( www.jennypearce.info ) </li></ul><ul><li>NSPCC (2011) Prevalence and incidents of child abuse and neglect www.nspcc.org.uk/inform </li></ul><ul><li>Pearce, J (2009) Young People and Sexual Exploitation: It isn’t hidden, you just aren’t looking London Routledge </li></ul><ul><li>Pearce, J with Hynes , P and Bovernick, S (2009) Breaking the wall of silence: practitioners responses to children and young people who have been trafficked. London, NSPCC </li></ul>
  28. 28. References (continued) <ul><li>Pearce (2010) ‘ Safeguarding Young People from Sexual Exploitation and from Being Trafficked: Tensions within Contemporary Policy and Practice’ in Youth and Policy no 104 June 2010 Special issue , Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Children and Young People : Contemporary Debates (eds) Pearce J and Melrose M: 1-12 </li></ul><ul><li>Pearce J and Pitts, J (2011) Youth gangs, sexual violence and sexual exploitation London: The Office of the Children’s commissioner for England </li></ul><ul><li>Scott, S and Skidmore, P (2006) Reducing the Risk: Barnardo’s Support for Sexually Exploited Young People . London: Barnardos </li></ul><ul><li>Warrington, C (2010). ‘From Less Harm to More Good: The Role of Children and Young People’s Participation in Relation to Sexual Exploitation’ Youth and Policy no 104 June 2010 Special Issue , Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Children and Young People : Contemporary Debates (eds) Pearce J and Melrose M : 62-80 </li></ul>

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