Recent investigations on how social services and police ‘missed opportunities’ to stop the sexual exploitation of teenage girls in Rochdale and Rotherham – not to mention the Jimmy Savile scandal – has ensured child abuse stays firmly in the headlines. There has been a flurry of concern, as professionals produce endless reports on ‘system failures’. It now seems that children who report being sexually exploited should be believed after all, not just dismissed as troublemakers. Suddenly, professionals are waking up to the nature of grooming under-age children, and how they are prepared for a life of sexual assault, rape and the enforced selling of sexual services to adult males. However, all of this misses out a vital piece of the jigsaw – the role of parents. What kind of parent would let their child of 14 be out on the streets at night? Aren’t they partly to blame?
As a parent of a child who was sexually exploited, I have an obviou