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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

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Summit will tackle child exploitation

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​Summit brings together leading authorities to tackle child exploitation in Scotland

A Scottish Government summit this week will discuss how charities alongside police and health boards can work together to ensure child protection policies are as robust as possible to keep young people safe.

Ministers unveiled a national action plan on child sexual exploitation to the Scottish Parliament in November which was published alongside a report from Children in Scotland chief executive Jackie Brock into the working of the Scottish Child Protection System.

The summit was one of the key recommendations and will hear from Children in Scotland, Barnardo’s Scotland, WithScotland as well as the Care Inspectorate and local authority represantatives

Children’s charities, police and young people are being consulted on the shape of the summit to ensure it reaches those who are at risk of exploitation and makes a “real measurable difference” to tackling the issue.

We know it is vital that all agencies work together to both support children and tackle the perpetrators of these vile crimes - Martin Crewe

Martin Crewe, director of Barnardo's Scotland, said: "We are pleased to be contributing to this important event which demonstrates a serious commitment to tackling the horrendous crime of child sexual exploitation.

“Barnardo's Scotland has over 20 years experience of supporting exploited children and we know it is vital that all agencies work together to both support children and tackle the perpetrators of these vile crimes.”

Later this year a wide-ranging public information campaign to tackle child sexual exploitation will be launched.

Education secretary Angela Constance said: “The safety and wellbeing of children and young people is a priority for this government and an issue we take extremely seriously.

"That’s why we work continuously with law enforcement, children’s charities, parliament and others to protect children from abuse and target those who attempt to prey on them.

“This week’s summit, our wide ranging national action plan and the commissioning of the Jackie Brock report are a few of a number of steps we are taking to protect our children. Our public information campaign to be launched this year will build on this activity to safeguard young people at risk before they become targets of this terrible crime.”