The government responded to a report by a joint committee of MPs and peers on the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, in particular on the aspects of the Bill that related to increased sentences for terrorism offences, electronic monitoring following release on licence, extreme pornography, young offenders, a criminal courts charge, and contempt of court.
Source: Government Response to the Fourteenth Report of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Session 2013/14: Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, Cm 8928, Ministry of Justice, TSO
A series of reports provided findings from research on the sexual exploitation of boys and young men in the United Kingdom. The research had found that almost one in three in a sample of the sexually exploited young people supported by Barnardo's since 2008 were male, although it was not known whether this was representative of the wider population. Interviews with professionals in the field had suggested that some young men were targeted and groomed by perpetrators, and that the risk factors were similar regardless of gender (although adults often thought of girls and young women as being more vulnerable). Perception of masculinity, fear of homophobia, or concern about being labelled an offender themselves were said to be potential barriers to disclosure of abuse. The summary report concluded that little was known about this complex issue, but the findings suggested that more gender-targeted responses were needed, and that awareness should be raised. It called for better research on female perpetrators, and for better standardized data collection.
Source: Hidden in Plain Sight: A scoping study into the sexual exploitation of boys and young men in the UK ï¿½ Policy briefing, Barnardo's
Source: Helen Brayley, Ella Cockbain, and Kate Gibson, Rapid Evidence Assessment ï¿½ the Sexual Exploitation of Boys and Young Men, Barnardo's
Source: Ella Cockbain, Helen Brayley, and Matthew Ashby, Not Just a Girl Thing: A large-scale comparison of male and female users of child sexual exploitation services in the UK, Barnardo's
Source: Carol McNaughton Nicholls, Shannon Harvey, and Caroline Paskell, Gendered Perceptions: What professionals say about the sexual exploitation of boys and young men in the UK, Barnardo's
Source: Carol McNaughton Nicholls, Ella Cockbain, Helen Brayley, Shannon Harvey, Carron Fox, Caroline Paskell, Matthew Ashby, Kate Gibson, and Natalie Jago, Research on the Sexual Exploitation of Boys And Young Men: A UK scoping study ï¿½ Summary of findings, Barnardo's
A report provided findings from an independent inquiry into Rotherham Borough Council's response to issues around child sexual exploitation. The inquiry examined the council's internal processes and procedures, as well as its work alongside partners, in responding to historical cases during the period 1997-2013. The report said that, on a conservative estimate, approximately 1400 children were sexually exploited over the period and in just over one-third of cases the children affected were previously known to services because of child protection and neglect. The report said there had been many improvements made by both the council and the police over the past four years, but the central team in children's social care that worked jointly with the police on child sexual exploitation struggled to keep pace with the demands of its workload, there were still matters (such as good risk assessment) for children's social care to address, and there was not enough long-term support for the child victims. The report made recommendations.
Source: Alexis Jay, Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham 1997-2013
Links: Report | Council response | Action plan | RMBC press release | Letter from Edward Timpson | 4Children press release | ACPO press release | Childrens Society press release | IPCC statement | BBC report | Guardian report | Guardian report | Telegraph report
A report provided an estimate of the overall costs of child sexual abuse in the United Kingdom. It said that such costs were difficult to estimate and were clouded by the levels of potential unreported abuse, but a 'low estimate' for 2012 was £1.6 billion. The report said that the majority of the costs fell on the victim through lost productivity, but costs to the Exchequer were also significant in areas such as health, the criminal justice system, and children's social care services.
Source: Aliya Saied-Tessier, Estimating the Costs of Child Sexual Abuse in the UK, National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
A report examined the level of child sexual abuse within the family environment (referred to as 'intrafamilial child sexual abuse' or IFCSA) and how such abuse was addressed by the child protection system and the criminal justice system, drawing on a rapid evidence assessment. It said that there was a lack of consensus on the definition of IFCSA and prevalence was difficult to assess owing to a lack of methodological consistency, research gaps, and underreporting. Little was known about child victims and their experiences from the victims' perspective, and there were particular gaps in knowledge about the impact on children with disabilities and those from minority-ethnic groups. Little was also known about the prevalence of long term harm caused by such abuse. The report considered evidence on good practice and made recommendations for further research.
Source: Miranda Horvath, Julia Davidson, Julie Grove-Hills, Anna Gekoski, and Clare Choak, "It's a Lonely Journey": A rapid evidence assessment on intrafamilial child sexual abuse, Office of the Children's Commissioner
The Serious Crime Bill was published. The Bill was designed to: strengthen the powers of the police to prevent serious and organized crime, including the extension in scope of serious crime prevention orders and gang injunctions, and amendments to the Computer Misuse Act; improve the ability to recover criminal assets, and enable the seizure of drug-cutting agents; extend the extra-territorial reach of legislation relating to female genital mutilation; allow certain suspected terrorism preparation offences that were committed overseas to be prosecuted in the United Kingdom; make it an offence to possess an item that contained advice or guidance about committing sexual offences against children; and make explicit the offence of cruelty likely to cause psychological harm to a child.
Source: Serious Crime Bill, Home Office, TSO
A range of reports provided findings from the reviews of the association of the late entertainer Jimmy Savile with 28 National Health institutions, in the context of the allegations of sexual abuse made against him. In addition to individual reports for the affected organizations, an overarching assurance report was published. A further report on lessons to be learnt by the NHS was to be published in due course.
Source: Department of Health
The Modern Slavery Bill was published. The Bill was designed to: consolidate and strengthen existing powers to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking; improve support for those harmed; increase maximum sentences; enable courts to order financial redress for victims; introduce prevention and risk orders to restrict the activity of individuals who posed a risk of harm; and create a new anti-slavery commissioner.
Source: Modern Slavery Bill, Home Office, TSO
An article examined debates about the definition of child sex trafficking and, in particular, whether British children could be victims. It proposed an inclusive, clearly delineated definition of internal child sex trafficking to facilitate more effective, transparent, and consistent multi-agency interventions and data collection.
Source: Helen Brayley and Ella Cockbain, 'British children can be trafficked too: towards an inclusive definition of internal child sex trafficking', Child Abuse Review, Volume 23 Issue 3
A report examined United Kingdom and international research findings on children and young people with harmful sexual behaviours. It said that: children and young people accounted for approximately one-quarter of all sexual abuse convictions against victims of all ages; underreporting was likely to be due to the stigma and shame surrounding the issue; in many cases, children and young people were both perpetrators and victims of abuse; many families of young people with harmful sexual behaviours were described as multiply troubled; and it was an issue that parents found difficult. The report discussed policy implications and said that, as most sexual abuse by children and young people did not come to the attention of youth justice services, provision should span the child welfare and criminal justice systems, with emphasis on early and positive interventions for children and their families.
Source: Simon Hackett, Children and Young People with Harmful Sexual Behaviours – A Research Review, Research in Practice
The Queen's Speech set out the United Kingdom coalition government's legislative programme for 2014-15. It included plans for a Serious Crime Bill to: strengthen the powers of the police to prevent serious and organized crime, including the extension in scope of Serious Crime Prevention Orders and gang injunctions, and amendments to the Computer Misuse Act; improve the ability to recover criminal assets; extend the extra-territorial reach of legislation relating to female genital mutilation; allow certain suspected terrorism preparation offences that were committed overseas to be prosecuted in the United Kingdom; and make explicit the offence of cruelty likely to cause psychological harm to a child.
Source: Queen's Speech, 4 June 2014, columns 1-4, House of Commons Hansard, TSO
Links: Hansard | Prime Ministers Office briefing | Cabinet Office guidance | PMO/DPMO press release | Home Office press release | Northern Ireland Office press release | Scotland Office press release | Wales Office press release | Action for Children press release | Childrens Society press release | Scottish Government press release | BBC report | Guardian report | Telegraph report
The Queen's Speech set out the United Kingdom coalition government's legislative programme for 2014-15. It included plans for a Modern Slavery Bill to: consolidate and strengthen existing powers to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking; improve support for those harmed; increase maximum sentences; enable courts to order financial redress for victims; introduce prevention and risk orders to restrict the activity of individuals who posed a risk of harm; and create a new anti-slavery commissioner.
Source: Queen's Speech, 4 June 2014, columns 1-4, House of Commons Hansard, TSO
Links: Hansard | Prime Ministers Office briefing | Cabinet Office guidance | PMO/DPMO press release | Home Office press release | Northern Ireland Office press release | Scotland Office press release | Wales Office press release | Childrens Society press release | Prison Reform Trust press release | Scottish Government press release | BBC report | Guardian report
A report provided a summary from a series of seminars that examined how to prevent child sexual abuse and how better to support children who had experienced it. The report considered intra-familial sexual abuse, peer-to-peer abuse and harmful sexual behaviour, and the prevention of sexual abuse within institutions. It made a range of recommendations to government, including: for greater clarity on information sharing; for greater prioritization of work regarding harmful sexual behaviour; for more specialized training for social workers and teachers; and for better and more consistent support for children and young people who were harmed by abuse.
Source: Recommendations for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Better Support for Victims, Child Protection All Party Parliamentary Group
An article examined victim and offender identities in discourses around child sexual abuse. It said that policy was constructed around social and political constructions of victimhood and offending behaviour that should be re-examined.
Source: Anne-Marie McAlinden, 'Deconstructing victim and offender identities in discourses on child sexual abuse: hierarchies, blame and the good/evil dialectic', British Journal of Criminology, Volume 54 Number 2
A report provided the findings from a series of focus groups with alleged victims of abuse by the late entertainer, Jimmy Savile. The focus groups examined the issues that prevented them from reporting events to the police at the time, and how the police might improve their management of the reporting process and subsequent interviews and contacts. The report said that there was a wide range of factors influencing non-reporting, but many said they had thought they would not be believed, and many of those who did disclose events at the time had been ignored or ridiculed. The report highlighted the long-term impact of abuse.
Source: Louise Exton and Kamaljit Thandi, Would They Actually Have Believed Me? A focus group exploration of the underreporting of crimes by Jimmy Savile, National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
An article examined the findings of a large-scale project on the sexual exploitation of young people, undertaken in Northern Ireland from 2009 to 2011.
Source: Helen Beckett and Dirk Schubotz, 'Young people's self-reported experiences of sexual exploitation and sexual violence: a view from Northern Ireland', Journal of Youth Studies, Volume 17 Number 4
A report examined the responses to child sexual exploitation (CSE) in London. It said that there had been significant developments across many London boroughs, with observable progress in the development of policies and procedures, investment in professional training, and the establishment of multi-agency groups. It said most areas were providing or commissioning some form of support for those at risk of, or experiencing, CSE and there had been progress in targeting prevention, with successful investigations and disruption strategies. The report noted that much work remained to be done by the boroughs, in areas such as: gathering evidence on the nature and extent of the issue in their local area, and working on prevention; pursuing perpetrators; addressing the vulnerability of specific groups, including looked-after children; identifying, assessing, and providing ongoing support for victims; building capacity and implementing policy; and better multi-agency working.
Source: Helen Beckett, Carlene Firmin, Patricia Hynes, and Jenny Pearce, Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation: A study of current practice in London, London Councils