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The Sexual Exploitation of Looked After Children in Scotland

A scoping study to inform methodology for inspection

Child sexual exploitation is an increasing issue of concern for our society. We have seen through recent media reporting the profound consequences on the lives of some very vulnerable children and young people.

While this issue affects all elements of society, there are some groups of children and young people who are particularly at risk. Looked after children and those who have experience of the care system are one such group. One of the issues for us in Scotland is to try to understand the depth and breadth of the challenge we face.

Child sexual exploitation is often hidden away from society, but the impact on the health, safety and well-being of very vulnerable young people is indescribable. We know that identifying the problem is only the start, and that all partner agencies need to come together and work closely together to ensure that all children and young people are prevented from being exploited in this way, are protected, and enjoy the best start in life.

With this in mind, we asked CELCIS to complete an initial, small- scale study in an attempt to answer some of the questions around child sexual exploitation, enabling us to ensure that - as we commence a review of our inspection methodologies and targeting of our scrutiny activities

- we robustly address this important issue.

We plan to use the information gained through the CELCIS study to strengthen our inspection activity across relevant services, particularly in relation to child sexual exploitation, and undertake, along with scrutiny partners, a wider thematic study on risks, resilience and the mental health needs of young people aged 13 - 25 years in Scotland.

In this way, as a scrutiny and improvement body, we can continue to provide assurance about how vulnerable children and young people in Scotland are protected