Is tackling sexual exploitation of children 'everyone’s responsibility'?

In the first investigation of its kind MPs are set to examine the scale of sexual violence and intimidation in schools as part of a Commons Select Committee probe analysing the extent of the problem.

It follows an FOI investigation by the BBC last year which showed that there were 200 complaints of rape recorded in schools every year over the last three years, but as Penny Marshall explains how she has been reporting on the issue for years, should we all be taking responsibility for tackling the problem?

The scale of sexual violence and intimidation in schools is set to be examined by MPs Credit: PA

Dame Esther Rantzen says children haven’t changed, it's just the risks they have been exposed to which have increased and made their world more dangerous.

When she founded ChildLine in 1986, mobile phones hadn’t even been invented, and peer on peer sexual exploitation wasn’t thought to be a problem.

It is now.

I was one of the first journalists to write and broadcast about sexting back in 2009 – exposing a national problem.

Back then, our children and teenagers, were in unknown territory - we didn’t understand what they could see and hear online.

Now we do understand, and the evidence suggests what they are seeing and doing online is changing their sexual behaviour, and allowing the vulnerable to be exploited.

So much so that Dame Esther is looking to start a new helpline to deal with the issues children face that are specific to the sexual exploitation children and teens face called “Is it Ok?”.

As a journalist, since my original story in 2009 , I’ve covered calls for the internet providers and search engines to do more, and for the Government to regulate what children can and can't see . Now it’s the turn of teachers to come under the spotlight.

We are all playing catch up. It is everyone’s responsibility.

Now the latest parliamentary investigation into how schools should deal with the abuse which happens within their premises highlights the need for all responsible adults: teachers, parents and guardians to ensure children remain protected.