The sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and young people is a terrible crime and injustice. Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a complex issue with children being exposed to a wide range of crimes, causing a devastating impact on children and everyone in their lives. The effects of CSE cannot be underestimated.
The 2016 National Action Plan to Prevent and Tackle Child Sexual Exploitation brought together a range of organisations, professionals and invested parties, in taking forward an ambitious set of actions to improve the child protection landscape and create a hostile place for perpetrators. I am delighted to have had the opportunity to Chair the National Child Sexual Exploitation Group over a period of such activity.
The Plan was ambitious in its aim - to make Scotland "a place where sexual exploitation of children and young people is eliminated - a Scotland where children and young people are protected from harm and a society that is a hostile place for perpetrators and facilitators of child sexual exploitation". Scotland's children and young people deserve nothing less than everyone striving together towards this aim.
This delivery report sets out the range of activity which has taken place over the last three years and the wealth of achievements that have been delivered so far.
It is clear that a continued focus is needed on tackling the sexual abuse of children and that we all need to work together to safeguard victims, bring offenders to justice and help children and young people stay safe.
I wish to thank all members of the national working group and all those who have contributed to the implementation of the plan for their hard work and commitment to tackling child sexual exploitation in Scotland.
Chair of the National Child Sexual Exploitation Group