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Play therapy to help abused children

Barnardo's children's charity runs projects and schemes across the country supporting children, young people and families where abuse has happened.

Play therapy is used by Barnados to help staff spot if children are being abused Credit: Daybreak / Katy Fawcett

These may offer therapy and counselling to help children come to terms with what has happened to them and move forward in life, and offer support to non-abusing parents to help them protect their children in future.

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The figures on sexual abuse in gangs and groups

  • 2,409 confirmed victims in the 14 months to October 2011
  • Of these, 28% from black and ethnic minority backgrounds
  • 16,500 at "high risk" of sexual exploitation in the 11 months to March 2011
  • Of the 1,500+ alleged perpetrators, about a third were white - the largest ethnic group

NSPCC: Child sexual exploitation is 'widespread'

This report quite clearly shows that the terrible problem of children being groomed for sexual abuse is widespread and needs urgent action to bring it to a halt.

Sex offenders come from all backgrounds but if there is a problem with one community in a particular area we must be bold enough to address it and not just turn a blind eye.

The grooming and organised rape of vulnerable young girls is obviously a serious and disturbing crime which cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.

– Andrew Flanagan, chief executive of the NSPCC

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Report: Child exploiters 'come from all ethnic groups'

The report's leader, Deputy Children's Commissioner Sue Berelowitz, said the "model" of Asian men targeting white girls was just one of "a number of models", and warned that if investigators concentrated on those patterns, victims could fall through the net.

The vast majority of the perpetrators are male and, in both gang and group contexts, different models of exploitation have been identified.

Perpetrators range in age from young adolescents to older men. The evidence is clear that they come from all ethnic groups and so do their victims - contrary to what some may wish to believe.

This report does not shy away from the shocking realities of what is happening up and down the country.

It is vital agencies improve the information they share about the victims and those at risk of sexual exploitation, so that children can be better protected.

– Deputy Children's Commissioner Sue Berelowitz

High rate of black and ethnic minority abuse victims

The Office of the Children's Commissioner report found that the majority of the victims were girls and there had been a higher rate of victimisation amongst black and ethnic minority children than has been previously identified.

  • Of the 2,409 victims, 28% were from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.

The report also included 13 warning signs that authorities can look for in children for signs of abuse - including drug or alcohol abuse, self harm and physical injuries.

Thousands of children 'raped and abused' each year

The leader of the report into child sexual exploitation, Deputy Children's Commissioner Sue Berelowitz, said the abuse some children face "can be relentless".

The reality is that each year thousands of children in England are raped and abused by people seeking to humiliate, violate and control them.

The impact on their lives is devastating. These children have been abducted, trafficked, beaten and threatened after being drawn into a web of sexual violence, sometimes by promises of love and sometimes simply because they know there is no alternative.

This abuse and violence can be relentless and take place anywhere - as they go home from school, as they walk to the shops, in their local park.

– Deputy Children's Commissioner Sue Berelowitz

Sexual exploitation report comes after Rochdale gang were jailed

The report into child sexual exploitation - entitled 'I thought I was the only one. The only one in the world' - comes after nine Asian men who groomed white girls as young as 13 in Rochdale with drink and drugs were jailed in May.

The report is entitled 'I thought I was the only one. The only one in the world'. Credit: The Office of the Children’s Commissioner

Judge Gerald Clifton told the defendants at Liverpool Crown Court that one of the reasons they targeted their victims was because they were not part of their community or religion.

Documents that recently emerged reportedly showed agencies in Rotherham were aware of allegations of widespread targeted abuse of teenage girls in the town by groups of Asian men.

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