Commercial Sexual Exploitation Multi-agency Group minutes: March 2024

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 27 March 2024.

Attendees and apologies


  • Jeff Gibbons, VAWG Justice policy, SG. 

Attendees present

  • VAWG Justice Policy SG 
  • Human Trafficking Policy SG
  • Child Protection Policy SG
  • Police Scotland
  • Women’s Support Project
  • TARA
  • Routes Out
  • Ofcom [in an observer capacity]
  • Public Health Scotland
  • Vice Versa
  • GBV Health Network
  • Just Right Scotland
  • Public Health Scotland
  • Skills Development Scotland 
  • Shakti Women’s Aid
  • Another Way
  • Scottish Commission for People with Learning Disabilities
  • The research lead on the previous SG commissioned lived experience engagement. 


  • NHS Lothian
  • YouMySister
  • SAY Women
  • Violence Against Women Partnership (VAWP) Network
  • Amina
  • Improvement Service
  • Serious Organised Crime Policy SG
  • Social Work Policy SG
  • VAWG Equalities Policy SG
  • Criminal Law, Practice and Licensing Unit Policy SG

Items and actions

Welcome and group introductions 

Attendees introduced themselves and the organisations they represented.

Purpose of the new CSE multi-agency group and background context 

The background and purpose of the group were outlined, with an overview of the relevant recent policy developments in relation to commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) which have led to the establishment of this group. This included the recent publication of Scotland’s strategic approach to challenging and deterring men’s demand for prostitution and supporting those with experience of prostitution, and the current refresh that’s being taken forward on Scotland’s Human Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy. 

It was outlined that the establishment of the group offers an opportunity to look holistically at policy and practice with regards to CSE, as well as acting as a forum for knowledge exchange. 

It was explained that the Scottish Government will hold an Internal CSE Policy Reference Group meeting ahead of each multi-agency meeting to inform the group’s discussions, with the internal group covering a range of policy areas – reflecting the approach the recent strategy to challenging men’s demand outlined within its policy annex. Also informing the meetings of this group and vice versa will be the regular engagement SG officials have with their devolved government counterparts and UK Government colleagues.

The multi-agency group will also have opportunity to help inform the development of the new support pathway to support women with experience of CSE – as referenced in the recently published strategic approach. The group will be kept informed as this work develops- as with any wider policy developments regarding CSE.

Discuss draft terms of reference/membership 

The initial meeting frequency suggested was every four months- with acknowledgement for the need for flexibility to consider more regular meetings as the work of the group develops. It was suggested that the group have an action plan informed by the themes for future meetings - identifying actions arising from these.

In terms of membership, it was suggested that it would be helpful to include the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFs) in future meetings. The Chair noted that wider attendees could be invited to the group’s discussions, informed by the future meeting themes.

Whilst the terms of reference will be updated with comments from the group, it was highlighted that the group's work will be progressed and aligned with Equally Safe's definition of violence against women and girls. 

Action: The secretariat will (following suggestions from the group on themes for discussion) develop an action plan which can develop as the themed discussions take place – based on the suggested themes from the group. 

Themed discussions/priorities for multi-agency meetings – an approach 

Suggestions for themes initially raised included the justice/police response and education, CSE in the context of BME communities, online, and CSE in the context of women with disabilities, including women with learning disabilities, which was suggested at the meeting. The group was invited to provide comments on the terms of reference, and potential themes for discussion (which would inform the group's action plan).

Action: The group to provide comments on the terms of reference and potential themes for discussion. 

Action: The group was also asked to consider recording any relevant developments, including the below, on the group’s horizon-scanning tracker.  This could include:

  • research
  • strategy development/ refreshes
  • events 

CSE Aware Building Bridges animation

The group previewed the CSE Aware animation, which was launched officially later that day. The animation was welcomed as a helpful resource which will help practitioners across the range of services women engage with- in turn improving the support for women. 

Next meeting: 13 June 2024

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