One of the UK’s leading experts on child abuse, Manchester based Peter Garsden, has today welcomed the Government announcements concerning new reforms that aim to better protect youngsters who reside in the country’s 455 children’s homes.
The recently published plans to combat the sexual exploitation of children in care homes in England act on recommendations made by Sue Berelowitz, the deputy children’s commissioner, in a report on sexual exploitation. The report is in response to the conviction of a sex abuse ring in May which preyed on vulnerable girls in Rochdale. Only one of the girls was in care at the time of the abuse but all were known to social services at some point in their childhood.
The ongoing inquiry has highlighted evidence that children in care are particularly vulnerable to child sex exploitation, with some residential homes being specifically targeted by abusers.
Commenting on the new measures, Ms Berelowitz said of the abuse: “It is of a violent and sadistic nature. I think it’s quite right and proper that the Government is paying special attention to this group of children as the state is their parent and therefore we have a special duty of care to children who are under care orders of one kind or another.”
Ministers have also pledged a wide-ranging review of all aspects of the quality and effectiveness of children’s homes, including management, ownership and staffing.
Peter Garsden, whose firm represents child abuse victims across the UK, said: “I welcome the recent governments reforms of the inspection of children’s homes announced in response to the recent Rochdale cases. Abuse of vulnerable children in children’s homes has been a problem for many years. Inevitably they will always be a target for paedophiles by their very nature, so making it doubly important that more rigorous measures are put in place to prevent infiltration.”