Yesterday in the House of Commons I asked Solicitor General Robert Buckland about the treatment of victims of sexual exploitation in legal proceedings. They are vulnerable and need protection. I know the court system is trying to ensure this but there are still challenges. In some cases, young people may be at risk of prosecution for crimes they were coerced to commit as victims of exploitation.
In addition, research shows that children traumatised by sexual abuse are much more likely to be young offenders – and to find the court process very difficult and often re-traumatising. This can affect the likelihood of a successful conviction.
This sometimes means exploited vulnerable children and young people do not get the support and protection they need, while the real perpetrators escape prosecution. I was therefore pleased that the Solicitor General acknowledged the problem I raised and believes we can go further to change this situation to protect children properly. I will hold him to this as I know it matters to the people of Bristol West as much as it does to me.