When children who have been sexually abused by gangs and groups enter the public law care system a natural reaction is that their parents or carers must have known about the abuse and must have failed to protect them. However the gangs are skilled at keeping the abuse hidden and abusing children during times when they may reasonably be considered to be elsewhere and safe.
The beyond parental control limb of s 31 (2) (ii) Children Act 1989 is appropriate in such cases. There may be no need to blame the parents and certainly not the child. Leading case-law on this section of the Children Act is examined. In cases where there has also been child abuse within the family recourse to s 31 (2) (i) will of course then be necessary.
This article begins by focusing on the nature of the problem and the response of the Children's Commissioner and the criminal justice system. Some key changes...
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