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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual exploitation by organised networks Investigation Report

Contents

I.4: The future

45. Overall, HMICFRS has published child protection inspection reports on over 30 police forces. It observed in evidence to this investigation that “without exception, police departments are operating at or beyond their intended capacity”.[1] This inevitably impacts on the ability of all police forces to use disruption tactics to their maximum potential.

46. The government’s January 2021 Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy included several specific measures aimed at disruption, including enhancing the Child Exploitation Disruption Toolkit; continuing and building on the Children’s Society’s Prevention Programme; and continuing to fund a number of major investigations into group-based child sexual exploitation through the Police Special Grant.[2]

47. In relation to the disruption of online sexual exploitation of children, the toolkit currently states that SROs and SHPOs can be used to limit or manage internet use or prohibit contact with children.[3] A number of the case study children, whose experiences are set out in Part D, were contacted by their abusers via online dating apps such as, but not limited to, Grindr. In light of this, the next version of the toolkit should include more information about how such activity could be disrupted.

48. The perpetrators of child sexual exploitation commit serious crimes and more effort must be made to prosecute them effectively. The law should recognise the particular nature of these offences and apply an aggravating factor in the sentencing guidelines for those found guilty of offences relating to children under Part 1 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

References

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