Cash boost to prevent a repeat of Rotherham sex abuse scandal

The Government is today set to announce a £40 million cash injection to tackle child sexual exploitation.

Rotherham was at the centre of a child sexual exploitation scandal
Rotherham was at the centre of a child sexual exploitation scandal

Home Secretary Amber Rudd's cash boost aims to bolster the Government's efforts to prevent a repeat of child abuse scandals such as those detected in Rotherham, Rochdale and Oxford over recent years.

The National Crime Agency will receive an extra £20 million to tackle online child sexual exploitation under the new drive.

The measures will see a new Centre of Expertise launched and £2.2 million handed to charities working to protect children at risk of trafficking.

Professionals such as teachers, social workers and police are also being given a revised definition of child sexual exploitation.

It makes clear that a victim 'may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual', and states that 'child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology'.

Speaking ahead of the official announcement later today, Ms Rudd said: "Children should be able to grow up free from the horrors of sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking.

"Since 2010, the Government has done more than any other to tackle these horrific offences.

"We have increased support for victims of sexual abuse, invested in training and technology to improve law enforcement's response to abuse both on and offline, and brought in a tougher inspection regime to ensure all front-line professions are meeting their child protection duties.

"But there is more to do.

"The measures I am announcing today will further improve our ability to protect children and under my watch I am determined to bring those that would try to steal their childhood to justice."

The Centre of Expertise - headed by the charity Barnardo's - will become the 'definitive source of information and guidance to those tackling child sexual abuse and exploitation on the front line"

Barnardo's Chief Executive, Javed Khan, said: "Through the Centre of Expertise we will develop a deeper understanding of this abuse so that more children can be protected and helped to recover'.

An independent report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, published in 2014, revealed that between 1997 and 2013 some 1,400 children were sexual exploited by men of largely Pakistani heritage while those in authority failed to act.