Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Homeless young people are at risk of sexual exploitation

Any strategy to try to prevent child sexual exploitation must involve measures to ensure that homeless teenagers are given help to find safe and secure accommodation. Young people on the streets are obvious targets for criminals who are prepared to exploit them, either sexually or in other ways.

So it is particularly shocking to read in the Independent allegations that, if true, appear to indicate some local authorities are comprehensively failing in their legal duty to provide help and assistance to children who have run away from home. A spokesperson for the charity Coram Voice is reported as saying that some councils refuse to help and just tell children to go back to families from which they have fled, often because of violence and abuse.

I wonder what the point is in having complex inquiries into child sexual exploitation if we are failing to take simple basic steps to make children and young people safe. Leaving young people on the streets is little short of reckless and the solution to the problem of their homelessness is fairly straightforward – provide suitable accommodation.