Child Sexual Abuse

In Staffordshire a multi-agency joint Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) forum has been created to understand, with local partner agencies, existing forums and works streams relating to these areas of abuse with the aim of reducing duplication and improving local coordination.

The Child Sexual Abuse Forum (CSAF) aims to;  

  • coordinate and drive the work of the child sexual abuse strategy;
  • hold agencies to account for promoting effective local working together arrangements and
  • educate commissioners and provide local challenge in respect of services provided to children and families

Our multi-agency forum provides an opportunity to share information to coordinate strategic activity, to implement the supporting strategies through agreed action plans, to actively challenge each other and work together as partners to drive this important area of work and help to keep children and young people safer.

CSAF reports to the respective Safeguarding Children Boards. There are also established links with the city and county’s Strategic Missing Children Group, Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARAC) in relation to domestic abuse and sexual violence; and with Community Safety Partnerships in respect of gang activity. CSAF also has representatives and links to the Youth Justice Board and Staffordshire’s Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Child sexual abuse – a description of what it is

Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Safeguarding Boards have adopted the definition in the statutory guidance that describes child sexual abuse as:

"..Forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child/young person is aware of what is happening”.

The sexual abuse of children and young people takes many forms and those relevant to our forum’s Child Sexual Abuse Strategy are as follows:

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

This is where a person(s) exploits, coerces and/or manipulates a child or young person into engaging in some form of sexual activity in return for ‘something’ the child needs or desires and/or for the gain of the person(s) perpetrating or facilitating the abuse.

Missing Children and Young People

This is where the whereabouts of a child are unknown and cannot be established by their parent, guardian, or legal custodian and where the circumstances are out of character or the context suggests the young person may be subject of crime or at risk of harm to themselves or another. 

Modern Day Slavery and Child Trafficking

A child has been trafficked if he or she has been moved within a country, or across national borders, whether by force or not, with the purpose of exploiting the child.

ECPAT UK has released a new film to raise awareness about support for migrant children who are criminally exploited.

Behind the Behaviour

The Modern Slavery Police Transformation Unit (MSPTU) has produced the following documents:

Exploitation - MSPTU June 2018

Offenders - MSPTU June 2018

Victims - MSPTU June 2018

Intra-familial Sexual Abuse

This is where a family member involves a child in (or exposes a child to) sexual behaviours or activities. The “family member” need not be a blood relative, but could be someone who is considered “part of the family,” such as a godparent or very close friend.

Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) Strategy

Our Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) strategy sets out the vision, commitment and approach of both the Stoke-on-Trent Safeguarding Children Board and the Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Boards to ensure the effectiveness of the arrangements to safeguard children.

This strategy advocates that the best way to tackle the sexual abuse of children is through effective co-ordinated inter agency and partnership working to a clear and coherent plan, doing everything possible to prevent child sexual abuse and as well ensuring that there is a swift and proportionate response with practical and tailored support provided to children and young people unfortunate to become victims.

It is our collective multi-agency responsibility to identify those children and young people at risk of abuse and our joint responsibility to protect them and safeguard them from further risk of harm and reassure our communities we can perform our duties effectively. To that end the Board has a key role in promoting and facilitating local and cross border co-operation and collaboration. It is the police responsibility to focus on the detection, disruption and prosecution of perpetrators.

To develop and co-ordinate a cross agency approach to increase effectiveness in tackling all forms of child sexual abuse our strategy has the following four key elements: 

  • Prepare      – Provide strong leadership, effective systems and working with      partners to tackle child sexual abuse
  • Prevention –      Raising awareness of child sexual abuse amongst children and young people,      parents, carers, the community and potential perpetrators and provide help      at the earliest opportunity. This includes building resilience with      families and partners to understand and act together in preventing this      form of abuse.
  • Protect      - Safeguard children and young people by providing targeted support      in order to achieve good outcomes for those who are at risk of or already      victims of exploitation and support professionals to do so
  • Pursue      – Disrupt,      arrest and prosecute offenders wherever possible and appropriate. 

To view the Joint Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CSAF Child Sexual Abuse Strategy please click on the link below:

Joint LSCB Child Sexual Abuse Strategy

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Strategy

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is child sexual abuse in which a person exploits, coerces and/or manipulates a child or young person into engaging in some form of sexual activity and facing significant risks to their physical, emotional and psychological health and wellbeing. A common feature of CSE is that the child or young person does not recognise the coercive nature of the relationship and does not see himself or herself as a victim of exploitation. Any child or young person under the age of eighteen, male or female, can be a victim of CSE, including those who can legally consent to sex. The abuse most frequently upon those of a post-primary school age and can be perpetrated by adults or peers on an individual or group basis. Perpetrators of CSE can also be from within or from outside a child or young person’s family. 

The CSE strategy sets out the vision, commitment and approach of both Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Boards in helping to ensure the effectiveness of local arrangements and promote a consistent local approach to safeguarding children from child sexual exploitation.

To view the Joint Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CSAF Child Sexual Exploitation Strategy please click on the link below:

Joint LSCB Child Sexual Exploitation Strategy