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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual exploitation by organised networks Investigation Report

Contents

L.2: Recommendations

The Chair and Panel make the following recommendations, which arise directly from this investigation.

The UK government, the Welsh government, police forces and local authorities in England and Wales should each publish their response to each relevant recommendation, including the timetable involved, within six months of the publication of this report.

Recommendation 1: Aggravation of offences relating to the sexual exploitation of children

The government should amend the Sentencing Act 2020 to provide a mandatory aggravating factor in sentencing in the case of the commission of an offence under Part 1 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 relating to a child, where (1) the child was exploited, (2) ‘exploitation’ means the child was controlled, coerced, manipulated or deceived into sexual activity and (3) two or more persons were concerned in the exploitation.

Recommendation 2: Child Exploitation Disruption Toolkit

As referenced in its Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy, the government should publish an enhanced version of its Child Exploitation Disruption Toolkit as soon as possible. This Toolkit must:

  • specify that the core element of the definition of child sexual exploitation is that a child was controlled, coerced, manipulated or deceived into sexual activity;
  • include specific guidance on building effective problem profiles for child sexual exploitation and child sexual exploitation by networks, as differentiated from other forms of exploitation;
  • specifically state the sources and types of data that agencies should use to build problem profiles; and
  • indicate the minimum frequency at which problem profiles should be updated.

Recommendation 3: Government guidance on child sexual exploitation

The Department for Education should review and publish an updated version of its guidance on child sexual exploitation. The update should specify that the core element of the definition of child sexual exploitation is that a child was controlled, coerced, manipulated or deceived into sexual activity.

It should also include detailed information on:

  • the role of the internet in the perpetration of child sexual exploitation; and
  • how to identify and respond to child sexual exploitation perpetrated by networks of offenders.

The Welsh Government should also update its guidance on child sexual exploitation to provide detailed information on how to identify and respond to child sexual exploitation perpetrated by networks of offenders.

Recommendation 4: Categorisation of risk and harm

The Department for Education and the Welsh Government must ensure that their updated national guidance makes clear that signs that a child is being sexually exploited must never be treated as indications that a child is only ‘at risk’ of experiencing this harm.

In line with this, local authorities in England and Wales should ensure that their assessment of risk and harm enables them to accurately distinguish between:

  • children who are at risk of experiencing sexual exploitation;
  • children who are experiencing or have already experienced sexual exploitation; and
  • children who have experienced sexual exploitation and are at risk of experiencing further abuse.

Recommendation 5: Child sexual exploitation data

Police forces and local authorities in England and Wales must collect data on all cases of known or suspected child sexual exploitation and child sexual exploitation by networks. These data should be separated from other data sets, including data on child sexual abuse, and be disaggregated by the sex, ethnicity and disability of both the victim and perpetrator.

This disaggregated data should be used by police forces to inform problem profiling and activities to disrupt and investigate offenders. Local authorities should take account of the disaggregated data when commissioning services for children.

The UK Government and the Welsh Government should take steps to ensure that these data are being collected and disaggregated in a consistent and accurate way by police forces and local authorities.

Recommendation 6: Unregulated placements

The Department for Education should ban the placement in semi-independent and independent settings of children aged 16 and 17 who have experienced, or are at heightened risk of experiencing, sexual exploitation. This should be implemented without delay.

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