New Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse

Former Home Secretary Sajid Javid has revealed that he is to head an inquiry into child sex abuse in conjunction with the Centre for Social Justice. The inquiry will examine organised child sexual exploitation, gangs and grooming, as well as the online abuse of children. The investigation is to be a “no holds barred” exercise, which Mr Javid said would not be hampered by “cultural and political sensitivities.” This is in reference to the recent high-profile cases where men convicted of child sex abuse cases in Rotherham, Oxford and Huddersfield were mainly from Pakistani, Kashmiri, Bangladeshi and Bengali backgrounds.

During his period as Home Secretary, in 2018 Mr Javid called for research into the “characteristics and contexts” of gangs involved in child abuse, stressing that all factors at play, including racial background, should be reviewed. Current Home Secretary Priti Patel has confirmed that the report commissioned by Mr Javid will be published later this year.

Sajid Javid has also commented on the impact the coronavirus lockdown is having on the welfare of vulnerable children, warning that it was likely to create a “perfect storm” whereby children would be “isolating alongside their abusers”. Predicting that the current restrictions will lead to a surge in abuse cases, Mr Javid’s remarks come as the NSPCC revealed that its helpline had received over 10,000 “child welfare contacts” since the lockdown was imposed in March. Callers to the helpline were concerned with children’s emotional and sexual abuse, as well as neglect and parental mental health issues.

In response to Mr Javid’s comments Anna Edmundson of the NSPCC said that children were the “hidden victims of the crisis”, and that “They have been exposed to increased risks of abuse while having limited access to those who can keep them safe because so much of life has been behind closed doors.” She added: “Abusers have also been grasping an unprecedented opportunity to target children online since tech firms have had to scale back on moderators and young people have been spending more time on the internet, with many feeling increasingly isolated and lonely.”

Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan added: “With both children and abusers spending more time online during the lockdown, they are also at increased risk of being targeted by strangers through social media, apps and gaming. This investigation should shed light on children who have been `hidden’ from professionals during the lockdown, and explore how they can be identified and access the support they need.”

NSPCC can be contacted on: 0808 800 5000 or

Bretherton Law’s Director and child care law specialist Sandra Bradley reports that locally there are many concerning cases coming to light where likely abuse has been hidden from view. The reduction in staff on the front line in social services and schools will mean that as restrictions lift, these agencies and the courts face increasing workloads in an effort to keep children safe.

Bretherton Law’s experienced Child Law Solicitors have been helping people with complex child protection issues for many years. We are members of Resolution and Accredited in Family and Children Law by the Law Society. For honest, proactive advice call Sandra Bradley, Sacha Hall or Kelly Hicks on 01727 869293, or use the contact form below.