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judith PHILLIPS.

IN common with most right minded people, I was shocked and horrified by the revelations in the recent child sexual abuse case involving nine men from Rochdale.

During the trial that led to the men's convictions, five young girls gave evidence of the abuse they suffered between 2008-2010.

But even more worrying was the revelation after the trial at Liverpool Crown Court that police believe there may have been up to 47 victims.

Following the trial, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, Peter Fahy, said he hoped more victims of sexual abuse would come forward and said it was likely more arrests would be made.

And passing prison sentences on the men Judge Gerald Clifton said the convicted men treated the girls as though they were worthless and beyond respect.

That abuse on this scale and of such depravation can occur in our supposedly civilised society in this day and age should be of great concern to us all. And so I welcome news this week that a campaigning organisation is calling on the Welsh Government to take positive steps to get to the root cause of the problem.

The organisation Stop it Now!

Wales wants an All Wales Strategy on Child Sexual Abuse Prevention to be developed and implemented by WAG.

It suggests more children could be protected from sexual harm if there was a strategy in place that took a public health approach to prevention and prompted more coordinated service provision and prevention efforts.

It has carried out research which involved in-depth interviews with over 100 people who had relevant insights and perspectives to offer. These included young people, victims of sexual abuse, adults who had sexually abused children and young people in the past, parents and carers and multi-agency professionals such as the police, social workers and education professionals.

Using the research findings, Stop! Wales has begun to establish a framework for the prevention of child sexual abuse, outlining key activities and services that contributors identified as essential in Wales to keeping our children safe.

Some existing activities and services require development or expansion. Other activities are not currently being delivered, but are crucially needed in Wales.

During my career as a journalist I have on occasion spoken to, and interviewed people, who suffered sexual abuse as a child, and can vouch that without exception they carry horrendous mental scarring into adulthood.

Any initiative which helps prevent this happening has my wholehearted support.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 26, 2012
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