CSE is a form of sexual abuse in which a child is groomed or coerced into receiving something (such as food, accommodation, drugs, protection) as a result of sexual activities. Often children and young people do not recognise that they are being abused.
NICCY provided advice on ‘Time for Change: Advice on arrangements to deliver justice in cases of sexual offences against children’.
NICCY continues to monitor how effectively Government is protecting children and young people from CSE and has reviewed the latest round of Departmental Progress Reports on how fully they are implementing recommendations from the 2014 Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Northern Ireland. More than four years on from the Inquiry the Commissioner remains of the view that the implementation process is flawed and that Government must demonstrate how children and young people are being better protected from CSE.
It is time to make sure that Northern Ireland is properly responding to the risks that CSE poses and that Government action is leading to real change in how well we are protecting children and young people, supporting those who work with them and disrupting and pursuing those who seek to abuse and exploit them. Read more about our concerns here:
NICCY welcomes the commitment made by government to strengthen responses to CSE but, having reviewed the action plans, we are concerned that the implementation process is fragmented, inconsistent and must more directly address the substance of the Inquiry findings. NICCY has also called for independent oversight to be put in place to monitor this. Please see here to read about NICCY’s concerns in more detail.
NICCY recommends that government puts in place independent oversight to ensure that recommendations and learning from CSE inquiries and investigations are being properly implemented and are strengthening protection and support for children.
The rights to life and to safety from violence and abuse are among the most fundamental of rights which should be afforded to children.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out that children have special rights to protection from abuse, exploitation and trafficking and to be supported in their recovery from abuse.
NICCY recognises the important work that has been undertaken but calls on government to further strengthen steps it takes across the four areas of:
This includes provide coordinated, long term and sustained support and services for children and listening to young people about how agencies and services can better help and protect them.
Today the Commissioner hosted a seminar on CSE in Northern Ireland and how well government is implementing recommendations from inquiries and investigations. This included presentations on the Independent Inquiry into CSE, PSNI’s CSE Investigations and the work of the Safeguarding Board. The Departments of Health, Education and Justice also outlined how they are taking forward CSE learning and recommendations.
You can view the following:
If you are reading this and are worried about yourself or a friend please talk to someone. You can contact Social Services, NSPCC or Barnardos for help and support: