The National Action Plan to Prevent and Tackle Child Sexual Exploitation update was published in 2016 and was a welcome progress update that built on the publication in 2014. I am pleased with what has been achieved over the past year - some key pieces of work have been completed and I am positive about progress going forward. As we know, preventing and tackling CSE requires a coordinated, multi-agency response and the action plan reflects this, as does the membership of the National CSE Group. This report details the progress made since the publication of the update, as well as outlining the impact.
A couple of key achievements I want to briefly mention are the Child Sexual Exploitation ( CSE) definition and summary and supporting Practitioner Paper, as they are important pieces of work ensuring the workforce across Scotland have a clearer understanding of the complexities of CSE. Another was the development of suggested indicators to test the success of the action plan, as going forward this work will provide us with crucial key evidence to demonstrate whether the actions and activities contained within the action plan are improving outcomes for children and young people affected by CSE. As the indicators have only just been identified, this year the report is purely narrative and I look forward to the inclusion of the evidence from the indicator work in the group's next annual report.
I was encouraged when Minister asked the National CSE Group to take forward overseeing the implementation of the national action plan with the Scottish Government, following the closure of the CSE Ministerial Group. As the chair, I am very pleased to be working with colleagues who collectively bring many years of experience of working in children's services and knowledge and skills in the complex area of CSE. Today we understand more about the complexities of CSE than we ever have and continue to battle this hidden and challenging issue.
I want to personally thank all those involved with taking forward the actions, along with all the members of the National CSE Group - your efforts to help combat the sexual exploitation of children and young people are greatly valued.
I'd like to end with reflecting on the vision of the National Action Plan to Prevent and Tackle Child Sexual Exploitation:
We want Scotland to be a place where sexual exploitation of children and young people is eliminated - a Scotland where children and young people are protected from harm and, in a society that is a hostile place for perpetrators and facilitators of child sexual exploitation.
This is a long term aim and one which I am delighted to be involved in working on.
Chair National CSE Group
Email: Deborah Gallagher