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LGA responds to Children's Commissioner Report on child sexual abuse within the family

Cllr Roy Perry, Chairman of the Local Government Association's Children and Young People Board, responded to ‘Protecting children from harm: A critical assessment of child sexual abuse in the family network and priorities for action' published by the Children's Commissioner.

"Councils have been leading the way in tackling child sexual abuse, and this report highlights the crucial importance of all organisations and members of the public working together to identify abuse early and respond robustly.

"Disclosing sexual abuse by a relative can be extremely difficult, and many victims will only speak out after reaching adulthood. We need to take this burden away from children wherever possible, but councils cannot do this alone. We need support from a million eyes and ears amongst the public, and the figures highlighted in this report emphasise the need for everyone to be alert to the signs and symptoms of child abuse and report anything suspicious to children's social care.

"The number of cases reported to councils has increased significantly in recent years, suggesting that more abuse is being identified and more children are now receiving help. While this is encouraging, we also need to be sure that victims are able to access the support they need once abuse is identified. Councils are now supporting over 20,000 more children on child protection plans than seven years ago, and it is vital that councils and partner agencies have the resources they need to deal with this huge increase in demand.

"The recent attention on cases of child sexual exploitation has shone a spotlight on that terrible form of abuse, and it is important that similar attention is now given to sexual abuse within the family. This report acknowledges the huge commitment to tackling this abuse amongst professionals, and it is vital that this commitment is matched at all levels of government and by anyone who comes into contact with a child who may be in need of help."

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