Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a ‘real and ongoing problem’ that has become a new social norm in some neighbourhoods of Greater Manchester. This will not be tackled unless there is a sea change in public attitudes away from a culture of blaming children and young people for bringing about their own sexual exploitation.
Young people are still too often being blamed for being a victim. We need to get across the key message that whatever young people wear and however sexualised they appear, they are still children and need our protection.
This recommends a radical new approach to tackling CSE to be led by young people, which recognises that the police, justice system and children’s services alone cannot succeed in protecting children, especially at a time of deep spending cuts.
Young people must be given the tools to lead the fight back against CSE in Greater Manchester because agencies cannot do it on their own.
To do this there will be a young people-led digital multimedia network centred around a high-profile weekly radio show produced and hosted by them on CSE-related issues.