Charlotte spoke in the Parliamentary debate on Grooming Gangs.
In the speech she paid tribute to the bravery of the survivors and emphasised the need to tackle the stigma that stops survivors from coming forward. This is all the more acute during lockdowns through the increased risk of online harms, and the fact that many young people will have much more limited contact with those trained in safeguarding and spotting the signs of children at risk of exploitation.
The Home Office ‘Group Based Child Sexual Exploitation Characteristics Of Offending’ paper makes clear that it's not any specific ethnic group that are perpetrators of these sorts of hideous crimes, and in tackling this issue we must ensure we are following the evidence not just the media narrative on some of the more high profile cases in recent years.
"This paper, and the government’s ‘Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy’ are welcome, but we must go further and move faster to protect children from Child Sexual Exploitation. In order to do so we need to have comprehensive changes to how these cases are handled, and better co-ordination across Government departments- including more support for schools and youth services, and guidance for police forces and the CPS to better understand the specificities of these crimes in making their judgements on how to proceed when reports are made."
This is something I will continue to work on in my role as Shadow Minister for Women & Equalities to ensure this is a priority for the Government.