Child exploitation inquiry begins at Holyrood

Tackling sexual exploitation of children will be the focus of an inquiry launched by a Holyrood committee.

The Public Petitions Committee will examine the effectiveness of existing practice and guidelines and look at what still needs to be done.

The inquiry comes after the committee considered a petition by Barnardo’s Scotland, calling on the Scottish Government to address child sexual exploitation.

Committee convener David Stewart said: “A childhood free from exploitation of any sort should be a right for every child. Our committee wants to examine the current measures in place to tackle this shocking and devastating practice.

“We will also look at what needs to be done to address the sexual exploitation of children, as well as supporting victims to rebuild their lives.

“There will be no easy answers but we want to ensure that everything possible is being done to protect the most vulnerable members of our society.”

The committee is seeking the views of those working to tackle child sexual exploitation and those supporting its victims, as well as from those who have first-hand experience.

The inquiry will look at areas such as the most common types of child sexual exploitation, the main routes through which young people become sexually exploited, examples of good and bad practice in multi-agency working and what changes can be made in the future to prevent children from being sexually exploited.