LAWS criminalising grooming and defining child sexual exploitation would make a huge difference, professionals have said, with 13 cases being identified locally within six months.
Currently grooming is not an offence in the island. However, a new sexual offences law is set to go to the States this year, some six years after it was decided public protection needed updating.
This will allow for the prosecution of adults found grooming children.
Statistics released by the charity The Hub, which opened a service in the island six months ago to help young people involved in different exploitation issues, showed it had dealt with 13 cases – a figure similar to statistics in the UK.
As today marks National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day, Youth Commission CEO Kerstin Neason said the new law would be a major benefit.
‘Laws would help hugely – just the clarity they would help provide to people over what sexual exploitation actually is would help,’ she said.
‘Having it clearly laid out in legislation would make it clearer for everyone. It would really support all of the work in the area.’
Miss Neason said she expected the number of local cases would increase as people became more aware about their possible involvement in sexual abuse.