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Chamber and committees

Public Petitions Committee

Meeting date: Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Agenda: Interests, Deputy Convener, Current Petition, New Petitions, Current Petitions, Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation in Scotland


Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation in Scotland

The Convener

The final agenda item is consideration of the Scottish Government’s national action plan on tackling child sexual exploitation in Scotland. Members have a note by the clerk, a copy of the action plan and, for reference, a copy of the Scottish Government’s initial response to the committee’s report on the plan’s recommendations.

As someone who is particularly interested in the issue, probably because of my background in social work, I welcome the action plan and I will just highlight some issues that are of particular interest to me. It is important to have refuges for young people at risk of child sexual exploitation and it is crucial to have specialist services in every region, as we recommended. I acknowledge the work that the third sector in particular is carrying out in this area. I believe that the risk of sexual harm orders must be used more comprehensively. I understand that it is a complicated area involving the police, the fiscal service and so on, but we asked for a bit more work to be done on that.

The action plan adopted most if not all of our 26 recommendations. I put on the record my thanks to Barnardo’s Scotland for taking the time and trouble to raise a petition on the issue. I think that the committee went an extra mile on it by undertaking a major inquiry, and I thank everyone who has been involved in it.

I think that we have now achieved our objectives. For that reason, I believe that there is merit in now closing the petition on the issue, unless committee members think that there are other steps to take.

I am happy to go with your recommendation, convener.

Kenny MacAskill

You are right to thank all those who have been involved, convener. Things are moving forward post the Rotherham case and the Alexis Jay investigation, and action is under way. The issue will evolve, but all that can be done by us has been done, and the issue is now back with the voluntary and statutory agencies.

The Convener

We will draw to the attention of the Education and Culture Committee the work that we have done in this area.

Do members agree with my recommendations?

Members indicated agreement.

Meeting closed at 12:14.