Child protection summit to be held in Edinburgh

The summit is aimed at tackling child sexual exploitation. Picture (posed by model): TSPL
The summit is aimed at tackling child sexual exploitation. Picture (posed by model): TSPL
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A SUMMIT on tackling child sexual exploitation will be held in Edinburgh this week.

The event was called for in a report on closing the gaps in child protection written by Children in Scotland chief executive Jackie Brock.

Then education secretary Michael Russell accepted the recommendations of the Brock Report in full when it was published in November, including the summit proposal.

The Scottish Government has published a national action plan on child sexual exploitation but has also been criticised by opposition parties for failing to implement the report’s recommendations quickly enough.

Ms Brock also expressed disappointment last month with the “lack of progress” and said she hoped the summit would not be a “one-off”.

The event on Wednesday will include representatives of children’s charities, councils, police and health boards.

A public information campaign to tackle child sexual exploitation is also to be launched by the Scottish Government later this year.

Education Secretary Angela Constance said: “This week’s summit, our wide-ranging national action plan and the commissioning of the Jackie Brock report are a few of a number of steps we are taking to protect our children.

“Our public information campaign to be launched this year will build on this activity to safeguard young people at risk before they become targets of this terrible crime.”

Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said: “Protecting children and tackling all forms of child abuse is a priority for Police Scotland.

“It is a complex and challenging area of policing, often with different challenges in different areas.

“Our new National Child Abuse Investigation Unit, which will be deployed into each of our 14 divisions when there are complex enquiries and as part of the local multi-agency response to child protection, will enhance further our approach to supporting victims and bringing offenders to justice.

“We must act now to ensure we offer the best protection to all of our children and young people. This summit is a welcome step in that direction.”