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Scotland’s National Action Plan to tackle Child Sexual Exploitation

Child Sexual Exploitation is an abhorrent crime. It is a form of child sexual abuse, and it must be understood in that context. Child Sexual Exploitation cannot be considered in isolation. Many of the young people who become victims have been vulnerable and at risk from an early age, and remain vulnerable to other forms of abuse and neglect. While Child Sexual Exploitation is a complex issue, our approach to addressing it should have the same principles – children and young people are at the centre of everything we do, and only by continuing to work in partnership can we best protect them.

And these principles are reflected at the core of the plan, in an infrastructure in which the principles of Getting it Right for Every Child – of putting the child at the centre, and multi-agency partnership working – are recognised as key to delivering best practice. Scotland’s National Action Plan will allow us to identify and consolidate the best practice already in operation, and build on it.

This Action Plan marks a significant milestone in the continuing fight against Child Sexual Exploitation, but we must recognise that it represents neither the beginning or the conclusion of efforts in Scotland. This Action Plan represents a long-term vision with a long-term strategy. Scotland’s children and young people deserve no less than a plan that is considered, thoughtful and based on solid evidence. It also gives them a central role in influencing the plan moving forward.