Wealden MP sets up inquiry into harmful sexual behaviour

Nus Ghani, MP for Wealden, has set up a cross-party parliamentary inquiry, (second from right) with Kit Malthouse MP, Kelly Tolhurst MP,  and Stephen McPartland MP (photo submitted). SUS-160314-172546001

Nus Ghani, MP for Wealden, has set up a cross-party parliamentary inquiry, (second from right) with Kit Malthouse MP, Kelly Tolhurst MP, and Stephen McPartland MP (photo submitted). SUS-160314-172546001

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A parliamentary inquiry looking at policies relating to children displaying harmful sexual behaviour (HSB) has been launched by Wealden’s MP.

Nus Ghani will chair the panel which, in partnership with children’s charity Barnardo’s, will look at whether changes to legislation are needed to respond to activities ranging from sexting to older children sexually abusing younger children.

Although parents and professionals are more aware of the risks to children as potential victims, the inquiry is due to look at the fact that there is less understanding of the possibilities of children causing harm to other children.

Ms Ghani said: “This is a growing concern and it’s unfortunate that we need an inquiry of this nature. It’s a difficult subject, but needs to be addressed – keeping children safe, in my own constituency of Wealden and across the country, must be one of our priorities.

“We know that children in every community are at risk of sexual harm, and that much more must be done to prevent abuse and exploitation.

“As technology and the internet have created new challenges in this area, we must make sure our laws, policy and practice are fit for purpose, and I hope this inquiry will produce recommendations which bring them up to date and provide greater protection to the victims of tomorrow.”

Recent statistics show that a third of all reported sexual offences are committed by children and young people, with a strong link between children displaying harmful sexual behaviour (HSB) and those going on to become a perpetrator or a victim of child sexual exploitation (CSE).

The inquiry, along with Ms Ghani, is made up of 11 other MPs and members of the House of Lords.

Four evidence sessions are being held over a period of weeks, and written evidence is also invited to inform the inquiry’s recommendations.

Written evidence submissions of no more than 3,000 words can be emailed to ditte.heede@barnardos.org.uk by April 12.

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