Child Sexual Exploitation. An analysis of Serious Case Reviews in England: Poor communication, incorrect assumptions and adolescent neglect

Amanda Jayne Mason-Jones, Jennifer Loggie

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Child sexual exploitation (CSE) has evolved from being a largely concealed and unrecognised form of child abuse to being the subject of substantial political and public attention. The purpose of this research was to explore health professionals’ role in detection and prevention.

A systematic thematic analysis and synthesis of serious case review (SCR) reports of CSE in England using a socioecological theoretical framework was undertaken.

Themes identified included health professionals’ lack of understanding of CSE, limited knowledge of the UK law, reluctance to apply relevant policies, and lack of appropriate action. Suboptimal communication with the child, between agencies and with families, lack of understanding of the young person’s context, their vulnerabilities and their continued needs for care and protection were also important.

This is the first time, to our knowledge, that an analysis and synthesis of all SCRs related to CSE in England has been conducted. The potential to recognise young people vulnerable to CSE is essential for public health prevention and intervention. Acknowledging that the SCRs represent the worst case scenario; nevertheless, this research highlighted the multi-factorial and complex nature of CSE and identified factors that require system-level awareness, training and intervention.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of public health
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2019

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