Measures aimed at protecting the most vulnerable members of society are to be explored in an inquiry launched today [6 Mar] by the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee.

The effectiveness of the practices and guidelines currently in place to tackle and prevent the sexual exploitation of children will be the focus of the inquiry. It will also look at what more still needs to be done.

Launching the inquiry during a visit to Barnardo’s Scotland to meet those working with victims of sexual exploitation, Committee Convener David Stewart MSP said: "A childhood free from exploitation of any sort should be a right for every child.

"Our Committee wants to examine the current measures in place to tackle this shocking and devastating practice. We will also look at what needs to be done to address the sexual exploitation of children as well as supporting victims to rebuild their lives.

"There will be no easy answers, but we want to ensure that everything possible is being done to protect the most vulnerable members of our society."

The inquiry was launched following the Committee’s consideration of a petition submitted by Barnardo’s Scotland which called on the Scottish Government to tackle commission new research on the nature and scope of child sexual exploitation in Scotland.

Key questions that will be asked during the inquiry include:
• What are the most common types of child sexual exploitation;
• What are the main routes young people become involved in sexual exploitation;
• What examples exist of good and bad practice through multi-agency working;
• What changes would be most helpful in preventing the exploitation of children.

As part of the inquiry, the Committee is asking for feedback from those working to tackle child sexual exploitation, as well as those supporting its victims. It would also like to hear from those who have first-hand experience of what more can be done. The closing date for submissions is 30 April 2013.

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Posted 06/03/2013 by