Call for plan to protect children from gangs

Call for plan to protect children from gangs

A child protection expert has called for legislation to protect children from organised gangs.

Professor Alexis Jay, who chaired the Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse which published its final report in October 2022, wants a national plan to deal with gangs grooming children.

She also called for the introduction of an offence of child criminal exploitation.

“There’s no strategy at the moment,” she told the BBC. “It’s uncoordinated, fragmented, piecemeal.”

Professor Jay, who has also undertaken a review of the issue for the charity Action for Children, said young people’s involvement in crime is increasing the use of knives and other weapons.

“What I found most shocking was the casual violence that was involved,” she said.

“Knife crime, of course, but we also heard about the use of a range of weapons – machete, bats, hammers and axes.”

She said children with mental health problems or a diagnosis such as ADHD were at particular risk of exploitation.

They were being recruited to deal and deliver drugs or weapons, as well as street robberies, bike and phone theft, begging and pickpocketing.

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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