Child Sexual Abuse Forum
In Stoke-on-Trent a multi-agency joint Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) forum has been created with Staffordshire LSCB to understand, with local partner agencies, existing forums and works streams relating to these areas of abuse with the aim of reducing duplication and improving local coordination.
The Child Sexual Abuse Forum (CSAF) aims to;
- coordinate and drive the work of the child sexual abuse strategy;
- hold agencies to account for promoting effective local working together arrangements and
- educate commissioners and provide local challenge in respect of services provided to children and families
Our multi-agency CSAF provides an opportunity to share information to coordinate strategic activity, to implement the supporting strategies through agreed action plans, to actively challenge each other and work together as partners to drive this important area of work and help to keep children and young people safer.
CSAF reports to the respective Safeguarding Children Boards. There are also established links with the city and county’s Strategic Missing Children Group, Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARAC) in relation to domestic abuse and sexual violence; and with Community Safety Partnerships in respect of gang activity. CSAF also has representatives and links to the Youth Justice Board and Staffordshire’s Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Child sexual abuse – a description of what it is
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Safeguarding Boards have adopted the definition in the statutory guidance that describes child sexual abuse as:
"..Forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high
level of violence, whether or not the child/young person is aware of what is happening”.
The sexual abuse of children and young people takes many forms and those relevant to our forum’s Child Sexual Abuse Strategy are as follows:
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
This is where a person(s) exploits, coerces and/or manipulates a child or young person into engaging in some form of sexual activity in return for ‘something’ the child needs or desires and/or for the gain of the person(s) perpetrating or facilitating the abuse.
Missing Children and Young People
This is where the whereabouts of a child are unknown and cannot be established by their parent, guardian, or legal custodian and where the circumstances are out of character or the context suggests the young person may be subject of crime or at risk of harm to themselves or another.
A child has been trafficked if he or she has been moved within a country, or across national borders, whether by force or not, with the purpose of exploiting the child.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. (World Health Organisation, 2014). It is recognised as a violation of the human rights of women and girls.
Honour Based Abuse
This covers a combination of practices and behaviours, which are used as a means of exerting unwanted control within families or other social groups to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or honour. Such violence can occur when perpetrators perceive that a relative has shamed the family and/or community by breaking their honour code.
This is a marriage conducted without the willing consent of one or both parties through the use of duress. It is now a specific offence under section 121 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. Prior to this Act, prosecutors dealt with forced marriage cases using legislation including false imprisonment, kidnapping and offences of violence where this was a feature.
Intra-familial Sexual Abuse
This is where a family member involves a child in (or exposes a child to) sexual behaviours or activities. The “family member” need not be a blood relative, but could be someone who is considered “part of the family,” such as a godparent or very close friend.
This is where harmful behaviours start at an early age and may continue into young adulthood. The young person can be a victim, offender or a witness to the violence
Child Sexual Abuse Strategy 19/07/16 (Click on the link to view the strategy)
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Strategy
Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is child sexual abuse in which a person exploits, coerces and/or manipulates a child or young person into engaging in some form of sexual activity and facing significant risks to their physical, emotional and psychological health and wellbeing. A common feature of CSE is that the child or young person does not recognise the coercive nature of the relationship and does not see himself or herself as a victim of exploitation. Any child or young person under the age of eighteen, male or female, can be a victim of CSE, including those who can legally consent to sex. The abuse most frequently upon those of a post-primary school age and can be perpetrated by adults or peers on an individual or group basis. Perpetrators of CSE can also be from within or from outside a child or young person’s family.
The CSE strategy (please note this is an Interim Strategy; the final version is currently out for consultation and will be added to the website shortly) sets out the vision, commitment and approach of both Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Boards in helping to ensure the effectiveness of local arrangements and promote a consistent local approach to safeguarding children from child sexual exploitation.
To view the Joint Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent CSAF Child Sexual Exploitation Strategy please click on the link below