"I thought I was the only one. The only one in the world".

The Office of the Children's Commissioner's Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation In Gangs and Groups Interim Report
The first year's findings of a two-year inquiry found that 2,409 children and young people were confirmed victims of child sexual exploitation in gangs or groups in the 14 month period from August 2010 to October 2011. The Inquiry also identified that between April 2010 and March 2011 there were 16,500 children in England who were at high risk of child sexual exploitation. This is the equivalent of twenty medium-sized secondary schools. The conclusions are drawn from extensive evidence submitted by the government, police, local authorities, health services, voluntary sector agencies and children and young people themselves. Young people quoted in the report describe experiences of rape and violence of a relentless nature, often lasting years. They live in well-founded fear of those who violate and control them. Many suffer long-term physical, psychological and emotional harm as a result of their experiences. The OCC calls for urgent action to protect vulnerable children from all forms of sexual exploitation, advising that all agencies working with children should immediately ensure their operational staff are made aware of the list of warning signs of sexual exploitation. These include:
missing from home, care or school, repeated sexually transmitted infections,
patterns of offending, misuse of drugs or alcohol, self-harm and other physical injuries.
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Research into gang-associated sexual exploitation and sexual violence: interim findings

The research into children and young people's experiences of gang-associated sexual exploitation and sexual violence is exploring: the scale and nature of the issue in the specific areas of England under study; pathways into gang-associated sexual exploitation and sexual violence for young people living in these gang-affected neighbourhoods; and potential models of response. Evidence shows routine serious sexual assault of girls for whom saying ‘no' is not an option because they are threatened and forced into sex. Although boys needed prompting to talk, they spoke about sex being used as both intimidation and humiliation between boys who are in conflict with each other. There are few clear boundaries between child victims and child perpetrators with children often both being abused, and abusing others themselves. Reporting of sexual violence is poor, with children feeling that nothing can be done to stop it, other than moving away from the area. Download the report from:

Children first: the child protection system in England

Commons Education Committee. Fourth Report of Session 2012-13. Volume II Oral and written evidence.

The culmination of a year-long inquiry, the report examines three key themes:
neglect, older children and thresholds for intervention, taking children into care and adoption. Twelve oral evidence sessions took place between October 2011 and June 2012 and there are 20 submissions of written evidence. Additional written evidence Volume III includes submissions from a wide range of organisations and individuals including Action for Children, Children's Society, Children England, ADCS, NCB, DfE and the Office of the Children's Commissioner.
Volume III Additional written evidence

The failure of child protection and the need for a fresh start

Speaking to the Institute for Public Policy Research Michael Gove said that the current child protection system failed vulnerable children by putting the rights of parents ahead of children and intervening too late. The Education Secretary sets out his ideas for the better protection of children in need, at risk and in care.  


Keeping children safe: The case for reforming the law on child neglect

Action for Children has launched a new report on neglect. The report, spearheads a new campaign from the charity urging the Government to reform the law on child neglect to ensure that children are protected, parents are supported rather than criminalised and neglect is prevented. It claims that The Children and Young Persons Act 1933, which applies to England and Wales, is no longer fit for purpose. Find out why and download the report from:  

Teachers raise alarm about malnutrition as more children turn up to school hungry

A study by the Prince's Trust and the Times Educational Supplement suggests that growing numbers of children are turning up at school malnourished, dirty and struggling to concentrate because of increasing poverty. The survey of 515 teachers from schools across England is the latest to highlight the impact increasing poverty is having on children. According to the research, the most effective methods of helping deprived pupils cope with the impact of poverty is to provide them with mentors, However, two fifths of teachers said they did not have enough support to do this. Visit the website to find out more:

Safeguarding children across services: messages from research

(Department of Education)
The Safeguarding Children Research Initiative is an important element in the government response to the Inquiry following the death of Victoria Climbié. Its purpose is to provide a stronger evidence base for the development of policy and practice to improve the protection of children in England. Eleven studies were commissioned as part of the Safeguarding Children Research Initiative. This Overview focuses on the findings from these studies, but also refers extensively to a further four important research studies that also reported during the same time period. This research provides an overview of the key messages from 15 studies, distilled to meet the needs of those professionals who seek to utilise such research findings to shape their day-to-day work. These include strategic and operational managers and practitioners, commissioners and providers of services, and policymakers in all those agencies that are required to work together to safeguard children. Download the report:

Serious and fatal child maltreatment: setting serious case review data in context...

(Department of Education)
This interim report summarises data from Serious Case Reviews (SCR) notified to the Department for Education during 2009-10. The aim of this work is to provide up-to-date, comprehensive data on serious and fatal maltreatment of children in England, and to set those data in the context of other relevant data on children's health, well-being and possible harm. This has been achieved through a descriptive analysis of Serious Case Reviews from 2009-10, using data from the database reports.
Data are compared to other available data sources including Office for National Statistics (ONS) death registration statistics, Home Office data on recorded homicides, Child Death Overview Panel returns, and the Children in Need census. Download the report from:

Protection of children online - a scoping review

The Department for Education has published a report, by the Child Wellbeing Research Centre, looking at what is known about the protection of children online. Issues covered include: cyber-bullying, sexual solicitation and grooming, and pornography and other harmful content. Ninety-nine percent of children aged 12-15 use the internet, as do 93% of 8-11 year olds and 75% of 5-7 year olds. New media technology means that the ways in which children are accessing online content are changing and ever evolving. Policy makers need research evidence to inform policies that articulate children's online risks, safeguard them from harm and promote their welfare. Recommendations for areas in need of further research include: factors that make some young people more vulnerable than others; how risk and protective factors influence outcomes; and how services can better protect children from online harm.

Ages of concern: learning lessons from serious case reviews

This report provides a thematic analysis of 482 serious case reviews that Ofsted evaluated between 1 April 2007 and 31 March 2011. The main focus of this report is on the reviews that concerned children in two age groups: babies less than one year old and young people aged 14 or above.

Child protection

The Department for Education (DfE) has published Professor Munro's interim report on child protection.  Professor Eileen Munro signalled a new approach in her interim report on child protection, which focuses on helping children rather than on the regulations, inspections and procedures that have thrown the system out of balance.

The interim report examines the areas of the child protection system where reform needs to take place. Currently the amount of prescription and bureaucracy in the system has meant social workers are not able to do the jobs they came into the profession to do.