Violence, abuse and neglect, and child sexual exploitation – Government action
UK Government actions
- In June 2021, Ofsted published the findings of a UK Government-commissioned review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges.
- In May 2021, the UK Government published a draft Online Safety Bill to tackle illegal and harmful content online and improve protections for individuals, particularly children.
- In April 2021, the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 received royal assent. The Act recognises children under 16 as victims of domestic abuse when they see, hear or experience the effects of abuse.
- In January 2021, the UK Government published its Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Strategy for England and Wales, to help prevent and identify abuse, ensure effective trials, and improve support for survivors.
- In December 2020, the UK Government introduced the voluntary interim code of practice on online child sexual exploitation and abuse, providing guidance for technology companies to tackle crimes including the online grooming of children, the livestreaming of child sexual abuse and the distribution of this content.
- In September 2020, the UK Government published updated statutory guidance on keeping children safe in education for schools and colleges in England, including indicators of abuse and neglect, and responses to child sexual violence reports and allegations against staff.
- In May 2019, the UK Government introduced the Tackling Child Exploitation Support Programme for England, aiming to provide tailored support to children most vulnerable to violent crime, exploitation or gangs.
- In January 2019, the UK Government launched a consultation seeking evidence on the needs and experiences of people with variation in sex characteristics. This followed recommendations from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to prevent unnecessary surgery being routinely carried out on intersex children. No update has been published since.
- In June 2018, the UK Government ratified the Council of Europe Convention on Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse.
Read our assessment of the UK Government’s progress on violence, abuse and neglect, and child sexual exploitation.
Welsh Government actions
The Welsh Government has some legislative competence for matters related to violence, abuse and neglect, including children’s social care. However, justice and policing are reserved to the UK Government.
- In March 2021, the Welsh Government published statutory guidance on safeguarding children from child sexual exploitation.
- In March 2021, the Welsh Government published a report on the performance of its adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) policy and how it could be further developed.
- In February 2020, the Welsh Government launched a campaign to help people recognise the signs of sexual abuse.
- In April 2020, the Welsh Government launched a campaign to raise awareness of the advice and support available to those experiencing or aware of domestic abuse or sexual violence during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
- In January 2020, the Children (Abolition of Defence of Reasonable Punishment) (Wales) Act 2020 came into force, removing the ability of parents or guardians to use ‘reasonable punishment’ as a defence for assaulting a child.
- In 2019, the Welsh Government published its national action plan on preventing and responding to child sexual abuse. Local safeguarding boards are required to report on implementation of the plan’s 31 recommendations by 31 December 2021.
- In 2018, the Welsh Government issued statutory guidance on what should happen if an individual had concerns about the wellbeing of an adult experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect.
- In 2016, a National Independent Safeguarding Board was established to report and make recommendations to the Welsh Government about safeguarding children and adults.