Child sexual abuse strategy announced by home secretary

4 July 2019

The home secretary, Sajid Javid, has announced plans to publish a new cross-government strategy to tackle child sexual abuse. The strategy will focus on both online and offline abuse, and will bring together different government departments, charities and other organisations to coordinate the different ways they work to keep children safe.

In September, Mr Javid announced a partnership with The Lucy Faithfull Foundation, including a £600,000 funding boost for our Stop It Now! helpline. This week he spoke about the impact of that investment, saying: “I can reveal that at the start of this year they were able to take 24% more calls than in the same period in 2018. They’ve also seen a 40% surge in the number of people being helped by their Stop It Now! website.

“And we know it’s working, with independent evaluation showing web users concerned about their behaviour reported increased awareness of the law and positive behaviour changes.

“So more potential offenders are being stopped before they prey upon children – something we undoubtedly need to see more of.”

Dr Michael Marett-Crosby, interim CEO of The Lucy Faithfull Foundation, welcomed the news and said: “We are delighted that the home secretary has announced the creation of a cross-government strategy, which we’ve been advocating for over a decade. Protecting children from sexual harm isn’t the responsibility of a single government minister or department. Collaborative working, across Whitehall, is vital if we are to truly prevent child sexual abuse.

“This must include teaching children, and parents, about the things they can do to stay safe. But it also means, alongside law enforcement, funding proven ways to deter people from sexually harming children in the first place. We need to make sure that people have places to turn if they’re worried about their own thoughts, feelings or behaviour, or about someone else’s. And we need to make sure these places offer effective help based on sound experience and research.

“Preventing child sexual abuse is always preferable to responding to it after the fact, and we need everyone to work together to have the best chance of protecting the most children.”

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