Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Scottish child abuse investigation unit is unveiled

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A national task force aimed at tackling child sex abuse in Scotland has been formally launched.

The National Child Abuse Investigation unit was unveiled by Police Scotland Chief Constable Stephen House and Education Minister Angela Constance.

The unit, based in Livingston, will help local divisions investigate child sexual abuse.

It will investigate both current and historical allegations, as well as online child abuse.

Sir Stephen said: "Child abuse, including child sexual exploitation, is a complex, challenging area of policing and we owe it to all those affected, whether now or in the past, to thoroughly investigate each and every report we receive.

"To be clear, the abuse and neglect of children is an issue for all of our communities. This is unacceptable.

"Children and young people should be allowed to live their lives without the fear of abuse or exploitation. We will proactively target those who pose a risk to children and work with our partners to ensure that support is available for victims."

'Actions or behaviours'

Paul Carberry, Action for Children Scotland director of service development, said protecting children from abuse was not just a job for the police.

He said: "Adults from all walks of life must be equipped to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation, not just listening to what children are saying but seeing what is evident in their actions or behaviour."

The creation of the unit was announced in October in response to concerns following the child sex exploitation revelations in Rotherham, in South Yorkshire, where an investigation found at least 1,400 children were abused between 1997 and 2013.

Matt Forde, NSPCC Scotland's national head of service, said there was no reason to believe Scotland was immune from the the widespread sexual exploitation of children which had been seen in English towns and cities such as Rotherham.

Last November, a Glasgow City Council report found 97 children in the city had been identified as being victims of, or at risk of, sexual exploitation.

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