- 7 updates
The Children’s Commissioner for England has said that an inquiry into exploitation has shown that children are 'vulnerable prey for sexual predators operating in groups'.
Charity 4Children has said that the report published by the Office of the Children's Commissioner must lead to a "watershed moment."
The report, which includes evidence from studies on children's understanding of consent and sexual violence within gangs, warns that youngsters across the country are being exploited and that the authorities responsible for their safety are failing to protect them.
The Commissioner's final report puts forward new guidance for those dealing with child sexual exploitation, including police, children's services and health staff.
It presents a series of questions - drawn up with young victims - which force professionals to focus on the child and their needs to make sure they get the help they need.
The report suggests that while the fact that paedophiles prey on young children is widely recognised by society, the idea of children abusing each other - through gangs or groups - is rarely acknowledged.
Children are committing sexual assaults against each other, "profoundly distressing" evidence suggests.
The scale and nature of this sexual violence - including rape - indicates a "deep malaise" within society that needs to be dealt with, according to a damning report by the Office of the Children's Commissioner for England.
The two year long enquiry says the problem is prevalent in every area of England and not just restricted to deprived, inner city neighbourhoods. In some cases, the victims are as young as 11 years old, while the perpetrators can be just 12 or 13.
Latest ITV News reports
These reports set out a chronic and larger problem within society affecting us all: The damaging and widely held views about women and sex.