During a recent debate on grooming gangs in the UK Jess challenged the government on the measures outlined in their recently published strategy on combating child sexual abuse.
Much of the language in the report, although positive, has often been used before and not translated into actual action to combat this crime.
Jess said: “I have spent the last decade, at least, sitting through review after review on this topic, meeting after meeting, homicide review and serious case review after another. In every meeting, I heard the language of “agencies do not work together well enough” and “information sharing is a problem”. In 10 years’ time, I will hear the exact same thing. Saying this and writing it into a strategy will change nothing. We have to make sure now—today—that this is not about what review we want to do; it is about what we want to change and how it can be different this time.”
Jess also highlighted classroom resources being used in some UK school’s as part of relationship education, which teach girls to expect men to initiate sex and to “receive and respond to it”. This type of language sets dangerous expectations which contribute to the exploitation of children by sexual predators.
“Telling girls to expect men to initiate sex, and for them to receive it and respond to it, is dangerous. What will the Government do to monitor what is being taught? Saying that prevention will happen in our schools will take much more work than just words written on paper.”