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Julie Morgan, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services

First published:
18 March 2021
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

Today, I am publishing, statutory guidance to safeguard children from child sexual exploitation. This is Volume 7 of a suite of guidance under the banner of ‘Working Together to Safeguard People’ to support implementation of the safeguarding provisions within Part 7 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.

It is now 10 years since the Welsh Government published the first statutory guidance on child sexual exploitation for Wales. Over the past decade, we have learnt from research and practice about the most effective ways to prevent abuse through child sexual exploitation, to protect children at risk and to support children and young people into recovery from abuse. The guidance was developed with a multi-agency advisory group, chaired by Dr Sophie Hallett, Cardiff University, which considered this evidence. Importantly the guidance is also informed by evidence from children and young people themselves.

Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse and causes significant harm to children and young people, affecting their well-being into adulthood. It is vital that agencies work together to safeguard children and support their recovery from abuse. This guidance, together with the Wales Safeguarding Procedures provides advice to promote consistent safeguarding practice across agencies and across Wales. We know that it is time to move beyond risk management and to promote child-centred practice, which considers what matters to children and young people and supports their well-being.

This must happen in conjunction with work to tackle perpetrators of child sexual abuse and exploitation and this guidance is issued jointly with the Secretary of State for the Home Office, who leads work by the police and criminal justice system to tackle this crime.

There has never been a more important time to promote work to safeguard children and young people and the implementation of this guidance will make an important contribution in mitigating the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.  I am clear in my commitment to promote a position where children in Wales feel listened to, benefit from child-centred practice and can realise their right to be safe.