Recognising and responding to young people with learning disabilities who experience, or are at risk of, child sexual exploitation in the UK

Journal article citation:
Children and Youth Services Review, 73, 2017, pp.474-481.

In the UK, child sexual exploitation (CSE) has received considerable attention in the last few years, with evidence pointing to an increased risk for young people with learning disabilities. However, no study has specifically focused on this and little is known about how best to protect, identify or support this group. This paper is based on a UK study which examined the identification of, and support for sexual exploited young people with learning disabilities. Data collection included surveys of all local authorities in the UK and of a sample of services supporting vulnerable or disabled children, in-depth interviews with 34 professional stakeholders and with 27 young people with learning disabilities who were at risk of, or who had experienced CSE. This paper provides an overview of the study and identifies areas for improvement in policy and practice including the need for education, training and awareness raising amongst young people, their families and professionals; tackling social isolation, disempowerment and invisibility of young people with learning disabilities, and the need for full implementation of government guidance with a spotlight on this group of young people. (Publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
young people, learning disabilities, risk, child sexual exploitation, child sexual abuse, surveys;
Content type:
United Kingdom
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