Action to tackle exploitation of children expanded

Exploitation

Barnardo's is expanding its work with Police Scotland to tackle child sex exploitation after an initial project proved successful

5th September 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A service which aims to combat child sex exploitation in Scotland is being expanded.

Police Scotland and Barnardo’s Scotland are extending their working relationship into Fife and Glasgow following a successful and proven programme which has been running in Aberdeen and Dundee for the last two years.

The aim of the new RISE (Reducing the Impact of Sexual Exploitation) services is to reach, protect and support children and young people who are at risk of child sex exploitation (CSE) in Fife and Glasgow.

CSE advisors from the charity’s RISE service will support Police Scotland’s officers by improving their support to those under the age of 18. In consultation with the police, the CSE advisor will assist in identifying and disrupting perpetrators and perpetrator networks, protecting current victims, and preventing potential victims, by bringing together intelligence information.

The new service was featured in a presentation at the Scottish Parliament this week, where the charity met with MSPs to secure their support in the fight against CSE. 

Together with colleagues from Police Scotland, local authorities and other agencies, Barnardo’s Scotland shared their knowledge and experience of what works in tackling CSE, and highlighting the importance of disruption in the fight against CSE in all areas.

RISE has been independently evaluated by Stirling University - The Reducing the Impact of Sexual Exploitation (RISE) Project: An implementation evaluation report found that the introduction of the CSE advisor role has been an effective way to improve professional responses to CSE, to provide targeted support for children, young people and carers, and that the advisors have played a vital role in improving multiagency collaboration and information sharing. It also reported that the advisor role had resulted in more trauma aware practice, and trauma sensitive systems.

Daljeet Dagon, Barnardo’s Scotland’s national programme manager for CSE, said: “Having CSE advisors co-located within police divisions, and embedded within local child protection arrangements, will help ensure that the right systems and supports are in place which identify and respond to child sexual exploitation and improve outcomes for vulnerable and at risk children and young people.”

Detective Superintendent Elaine Galbraith, head of child protection at Police Scotland, said: "Building on our strong partnerships across public protection and working within communities to tackle child sexual abuse including CSE is key to raising public awareness and to preventing children and young people being sexually abused. CSE remains a complex issue with children often unaware that they are being targeted by predators. Therefore maximising opportunities to disrupt offending behaviour at an early stage is vital to protecting children and young people.

"Developing staff across all organisations to understand, recognise and act if they suspect a child is being sexually abused and/or exploited is a key factor in that early intervention and this has been such a positive feature of the work of the CSE advisors in Dundee and Aberdeen."

CSE is often hidden, with perpetrators using violence, coercion and intimidation to exert power over children. Children may not realise they are being exploited or may be too afraid to ask for help. Barnardo’s Scotland and Police Scotland said that everyone needs to recognise the signs of CSE, listen to young people and take action against perpetrators.

If you would like more information about identifying the signs of CSE, support or any further information visit the Police Scotland website.