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Scotland’s National Action Plan to tackle Child Sexual Exploitation

The safety and wellbeing of all children and young people is a key priority for the Scottish Government. Child Sexual Exploitation is an abhorrent crime and can have a devastating impact on its victims and their families. We are committed to taking forward any appropriate action that can help prevent abuse arising; better support victims and enable law enforcement agencies to pursue and prosecute those who would prey on our children and young people.

Of course, the vast majority of children in Scotland live safe, healthy and happy lives, and our world renowned children’s hearings systems and child centred approach are key to delivering this.

Child Sexual Exploitation is as much a reality here in Scotland as it is around the world – a reality that we, as a nation, must tackle collectively. All children and young people have the right to be cared for and protected from harm, and to grow up in a safe environment where their rights and needs are respected. I am therefore pleased to publish ‘Scotland’s National Action Plan to Tackle Child Sexual Exploitation’. It represents a comprehensive and ambitious strategy for addressing this complex challenge. It builds on work that has been happening across Scotland, bringing together examples of local best practice with national strategy, and will help us ensure that we are taking the necessary steps to put our commitment to protecting all our young people into action. Importantly, this is Scotland’s plan. The protection of children’s wellbeing is the responsibility of all those in society, including the Scottish Government, Police Scotland, local authorities, third sector organisations, communities and families; Similarly, the actions in this plan belong to a wide range of organisations. Scotland’s children and young people deserve no less than a full and collective commitment to delivering this Action Plan. This programme of action is a milestone in our conversation, not a conclusion. This government is absolutely committed to protecting children and young people’s wellbeing and has already implemented a range of work with partners to ensure we remain vigilant to abuse. We will continue to work together to ensure that the National Action Plan is implemented and further advances the progress already made.