Child sexual exploitation study

RESEARCH into child sexual exploitation has been commissioned by the Scottish Government to understand the scale of the problem.

Ministers want to discover how many children are likely to be in danger and from what forms of exploitation, so they can tailor the response of social workers and police to deal with it.

The move comes after children’s charity Barnardo’s called for a proper investigation of sexual exploitation among children in Scotland, almost a decade after it was first promised in 2003.

Aileen Campbell, minister for children, announced the research to be carried out by Bedfordshire University and for new protocols to be developed in the light of the findings.

Barnardo’s petitioned the Scottish Parliament and in response the Petitions Committee wrote to local authorities to ask what their procedures were. Only Glasgow responded.

Ms Campbell said: “We want to identify how many children are affected, we want to get a clearer picture of Scotland to ensure the action we take is right.

“Research will give us that picture and tell us what areas we need to focus on.”

The research will look at child trafficking, on-line grooming to add to the body of evidence that exists for social work departments dealing with child abuse and child neglect.

Barnardo’s welcomed the announcement.