Scoping Study on a proposed ‘centre for excellence for a child’s wellbeing in Scotland’

27 February 2015

The Scottish Government keeps its approach to improving outcomes for Scotland’s children and young people under constant review, and in particular for those we might describe as vulnerable or at-risk. 

A review is being undertaken by Romy Langeland on behalf of the Scottish Government to explore what a theoretical ‘centre for excellence for a child’s wellbeing’ might look like. This will involve looking at the current ‘centres for excellence’ that work most directly in this area and receive Scottish Government funding: WithScotland, CELCIS and the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice (CYCJ). The review will explore whether the centres are configured most effectively already or if a better approach is possible – given the overriding need to put the child at the centre of decision-making. As part of the review Romy will be consulting a wide range of stakeholders. 

If you have any comments to make or queries about this please contact Sandra Aitken,  

Poverty is a child protection issue

The Scotsman | 26 February 2015

THERE are prospects for our children in need, explains Harry Stevenson.

Most people think that child protection is about abuse. The common perception is that if an issue is deemed to be a child protection matter, then the child is being physically or sexually abused or neglected. The image that the public often come up with is a child whose parents are drug addicts or alcoholics. A single mother with a violent partner. The memories of Baby Peter loom large. When you mention child protection, one thing people are unlikely to think of is poverty. Poverty is defined in language terms as a “the state of being extremely poor”. In economic terms is it living at less than 60 per cent of the (fluctuating) average wage.

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Engaging survivors of historical child abuse

CELCIS | 26 February 2015

CELCIS is keen to reach survivors of historical child abuse.  

We are planning events on behalf of the Scottish Government, to give survivors and their families an opportunity to share their views on the range of commitments made by the Scottish Government, including a National Inquiry. One of the ways to contribute would be to attend one of our events, which will be conducted in a safe environment. Support will be available for those who need it. Events are for survivors and their families only.

Visit the CELCIS website for full details.  

Campaign aims to protect Dundee’s ‘at risk’ adults

25 February 2015

A new campaign aims to protect some of Dundee’s most vulnerable adults from abuse and harm. It emerged last year that the number of adults referred to the Dundee Adult Support and Protection Committee had increased more than 10-fold over the past five years. From a figure of just 125 potentially “at risk” adults in 2009/10, the number leapt to more than 1,450 during the two years from April 1 2012 to March 31 last year.  

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Domestic violence could be stopped earlier, says study

25 February 2015

Victims of domestic violence are abused for almost three years before they get the help they need, and some are subjected to more than 50 incidents during that time, according to a study of the largest database of domestic violence victims in the UK.

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Child abuse summit welcomed by the Scottish Child Protection Committee Chair’s Forum

WithScotland | 25 February 2015

The Scottish Child Protection Committee Chair’s Forum, (SCPCCF), and its Public Awareness Advisory Group welcomes today’s summit and its focus on examining any gaps in approaches to Child Protection in Scotland.

Anne Houston, Chair of the SCPCCF, and member of its Advisory Group, commented: “The summit offers an opportunity to ensure that those who work in Child Protection can respond appropriately to vulnerable children and young people affected by Child Sexual Exploitation, and to build confidence that we understand their issues and their needs. We must also consider how the activities of perpetrators can be disrupted, ultimately, helping victims. 

“Often, young people's vulnerability to Child Sexual Exploitation has its origins in their earlier experiences, sometimes of sexual abuse within the family. This further emphasises the need to focus on recognising risks posed to children and young people from those they know - and on early intervention. We recognise the challenges presented by the growing awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation and its links to wider concerns about child abuse.” 

 Beth Smith, Director of WithScotland, the national resource for Child Protection in Scotland, said: “The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act offers opportunities to improve the protection of children - especially with its focus on early intervention and prevention. Successful implementation depends on effective partnerships and collaboration between everyone involved in protecting children.” 

Vulnerable adults in Glasgow hit by more than £26million cuts in four years

24 February 2015

MORE than £37 million has been slashed from Glasgow City Council’s budget for vulnerable adults in the past seven years.  The services affected include elderly care, day services and accommodation for the most vulnerable people in the city. Since 2008 a total of £37.1m has been axed from the budget for vulnerable adults.

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Child protection summit to be held in Edinburgh

Scotsman | 23 February 2015

A SUMMIT on tackling child sexual exploitation will be held in Edinburgh this week. The event was called for in a report on closing the gaps in child protection written by Children in Scotland chief executive Jackie Brock.

Then education secretary Michael Russell accepted the recommendations of the Brock Report in full when it was published in November, including the summit proposal. The Scottish Government has published a national action plan on child sexual exploitation but has also been criticised by opposition parties for failing to implement the report’s recommendations quickly enough.

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Disability Matters: new e-learning resource

Disability Matters | 18 February 2015

Disability Matters is a new e-learning resource for the UK workforce with group learning resources to help challenge and positively change some of the fears and attitudes towards disability and disabled children and young people. The e-learning website aims to be educational, inspiring, informative and inclusive. It offers the opportunity to create a learning account through which visitors can access group training resources as well as learning packages that are recommended for specific needs. The e-learning sessions include 'What is disability?' 'Reflection matters' 'Hidden disabilities matter' 'Disability, cultures and languages' and 'Deaf communication matters.'  

More information 

Consultation on draft Statutory Guidance for Named Person, Child’s Plan and wellbeing

18 February 2015

A consultation seeking views on draft Statutory Guidance for parts 4, 5 and 18 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act has been launched and responses are welcomed until 1st May 2015.

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New bill aims to support children of offenders

18 February 2015

The Support for Children (Impact of Parental Imprisonment) (Scotland) Bill was launched on Thursday 5th February 2015 and is now seeking responses as part of the consultation.

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Abuse inquiry should cover whole UK, Home Affairs Committee says

BBC News | 13 February 2015

The government is being urged to extend the scope of the child sexual abuse inquiry to cover the whole of the UK - rather than just England and Wales. The investigation should cover Scotland, and Northern Ireland, including claims of abuse at Kincora Boys' Home in Belfast in the 1970s, a Home Affairs Committee report said. The panel must seek to avoid "gaps" between the various inquiries, it said.  

The Home Office said the report had been noted and was being considered.

Further information

Scottish councils to set budgets

BBC News | 12 February 2015

Most of Scotland's councils are due to set their budgets for the coming year, with councillors facing tough decisions on local spending as they seek to balance their books.

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Campaigners to appeal 'named person' judgement

BBC News | 12 February 2015

Campaigners who legally challenged plans to appoint a "named person" for every child in Scotland are to appeal a judge's decision to dismiss the case. In January, a petition for judicial review of the Scottish government proposals was rejected. The No to Named Persons (NO2NP) group said it will continue its fight against the legislation. The Scottish government says the plans would help vulnerable children and families in need.

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Pitching against payday lenders: churches woo customers from Wonga

The Herald | 11 February 2015

An alliance of churches is to wage all-out war against payday loan companies by setting up their own free rival credit union to help people in need of financial help.

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Women with learning disabilities are hidden victims of domestic violence

The Guardian | 11 February 2015

While focus on abuse in residential care increased after the BBC’s Panorama exposure of Winterbourne View in 2011, there is scant attention given to the mistreatment of people with learning disabilities within intimate relationships. There is only one specialist refuge in the UK for women with learning disabilities who have suffered domestic violence and, until now, little research into this hidden problem.

Barbara Davis’s abusive boyfriend burned her fingers on the stove when he discovered her packed suitcase under the bed and realised she was trying to leave. He had controlled Davis, 36, who has a mild learning disability, for years. He isolated her from family and friends, verbally abusing her parents until they stopped visiting. He locked her in the privately rented London flat they shared, goading her to kill herself. She recalls: “He told me to strangle myself with a wire … he wanted me to die.”  

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Speak up for adults in harm’s way

11 February 2015

Health officials in East Renfrewshire are taking up the local front on a campaign to raise awareness of adult harm. The national Adult Support and Protection campaign covers different types of harm including physical, psychological, financial and sexual harm, as well as neglect.  

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High Court fines council after high social worker turnover breached child’s rights

Community Care | 11 February 2015

A child has won £12,000 in damages after a council breached his human rights by mishandling his care proceedings. A high turnover of social workers at Northamptonshire council was part of a catalogue of errors, omissions and mismanagement, which breached the child and mother’s right to a fair trial and private family life, the High Court ruled.  

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'No alcohol in early pregnancy' call

BBC News | 11 February 2015

Women trying for a baby and those in the first three months of pregnancy should not drink any alcohol, updated UK guidelines say. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) had previously said a couple of glasses of wine a week was acceptable. It now says abstinence is the only way to be certain that the baby is not harmed. There is no proven safe amount that women can drink during pregnancy.

Further information

Domestic abuse: how can services protect children in violent homes?

The Guardian | 11 February 2015

How best can children be protected in households where domestic abuse is rife? It seems a simple question, but it isn’t, and that’s because the fate of children is inextricably linked with that of the victim, usually their mother. How services view and interact with her matters as much, and sometimes more than, whether they specifically engage with at-risk children in the family, says Davina James-Hanman, director of Against Violence and Abuse.

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10th February 2015 is Safer Internet Day

10 February 2015

Today Safer Internet Day will be celebrated around the globe with the slogan ‘Let’s create a better internet together’.

Coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre the celebration sees hundreds of organisations get involved to help promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people. 

Safer Internet Day calls upon young people, parents, carers, teachers, social workers, law enforcement, companies, policymakers, and wider, to join together in helping to create a better internet. Ultimately, a better internet is up to us!

To find out more and to access resources for children, schools and families, and tools for getting involved visit

#up2us            #SID2015

WithScotland resources

Safer Internet Centre resources

Arts Charity To Help Children Affected By Drink And Drugs

Third Force News | 10 February 2015

A Glasgow based charity has launched an art programme specifically to help children who live with a family member who has a drink or drug addiction in the city’s east end.  

Those identified by Impact Arts will be invited to attend special therapeutic activities at the city’s Young Gallery. It is hoped by going along the youngsters will learn ways to cope better in their home environment.  

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Scottish support service got mum's hellish life back on track: 'Being in so much turmoil made me easy prey for drug dealers'

09 February 2015

ANGELA Erskine was an easy target for dealers, battling an undiagnosed mental illness that left her unable to control her emotions.   ALONE, afraid and isolated at 16, Angela Erskine became an easy target for drug dealers who saw opportunity in her vulnerability. What Angela, now 30 and a mum of two boys, didn’t know in those dark days of early adulthood was that she was battling an undiagnosed mental illness that left her unable to control her emotions.

More information 

WithScotland Adult Protection 

New campaign aims to help the vulnerable

09 February 2015

MEMBERS of the public are being urged to use their gut instincts to look out for any vulnerable adults and raise the alarm with social workers if they fear they are being harmed in any way. Campaigners have warned that there are a range of potential risks such as sexual abuse, violence and financial exploitation, as well as psychological hurts such as threats, mental bullying and verbal ridicule. Council social work departments currently receive around 300 alerts a week relating to possible cases and typically 16 investigations are launched. But only about eight per cent of these result in a protection order being granted.  

More information 

WithScotland - Adult Support and Protection 

Seen Something? Say Something

WithScotland | 09 February 2015

WithScotland, the national resource for Child Protection and Adult Support and Protection, is backing the Scottish Government’s ‘Adult Support and Protection’ campaign launched today (Monday, 9th February), which is urging the Scottish public to act on their instinct if they think an adult is being harmed, neglected or taken advantage of.  

Press release 

WithScotland - Adult Support and Protection 

Scottish campaign unveiled to tackle adult harm

Scotsman | 09 February 2015

A NEW campaign is urging Scots to act if they suspect someone is being harmed or neglected. The Scottish Government’s Seen something? Say something initiative has been set up to raise awareness of adults who may be at risk. Councils will deal sensitively with any emails or calls they receive reporting possible harm to another person, health improvement minister Jamie Hepburn said.

More information 

Practitioner Research: Outcomes and Partnership (PROP2)

09 February 2015

PROP2 has been developed by IRISS and CRFR at the University of Edinburgh, and builds on learning from the previous Practitioner Research: Older People (PROP) project.

PROP2 aims to develop research capacity and knowledge exchange amongst practitioners and to generate evidence about issues relevant to practice. Working with partners from health and social care, a group of practitioners are being supported to identify a research question, and to plan and implement a full research project. The practitioners will develop research awareness and skills and their organisations will increase their research and knowledge exchange capacity, especially in relation to use of data and evidence.

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6th February 2015 - International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

WithScotland | 06 February 2015

Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve altering or injuring the female genitalia for non-medical reasons - and is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women and girls. The practice also violates their rights to health, security and physical integrity, their right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and their right to life when the procedure results in death.

Further information of FGM Day

On 6 February, The Women’s Support Project (WSP) in Glasgow is launching a short animated film to raise awareness of FGM and help improve service responses. WSP is also offering regional development days for people involved in training. A new website giving easy access to documents and resources will be going live later in February. For more information about what the Women’s Support Project is doing to raise awareness of, and tackle FGM in Scotland contact Jan MacLeod at

Tackling FGM in Scotland Report (December 2014) is a scoping study carried out by Scottish Refugee Council with the support of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. It identifies populations potentially affected by female genital mutilation in Scotland and explores interventions across the European Union (EU) in the areas of participation, prevention, protection and the provision of services, presenting a baseline of Scotland-specific data and recommendations for the development of a Scottish model of intervention.

Short films about FGM 

FGM A Change has Begun, 2014. A survivor-led account of life with FGM which speaks of the positive shift in perspective within practicing communities in the UK. The film was made by Spirited Pictures and commissioned by Girl Effect for the Girl Summit 2014. Contains personal accounts from women survivors of FGM.  

Speaking with patients about FGM, 2014. Journalist and broadcaster Susan Bookbinder talks with four women about how they would like to see professionals hold sensitive conversations about female genital mutilation (FGM), including what actions to take to safeguard vulnerable girls. Contains personal accounts from women survivors of FGM.

New law on sale of sex 'could cut human trafficking'

BBC News | 06 February 2015

Churches and other religious organisations have written to the first minister saying doing so could have a significant effect on human trafficking and exploitation. 

They said sex trafficking is a form of modern slavery which is a crime against humanity. But their letter claimed it exists because of a demand for commercial sex which is exploited and profited from. 

The Northern Ireland Assembly voted in December 2014 to criminalise the purchase of sexual services.

Further information

Support for children: Consultation to ensure services work for families

Scottish Government | 06 February 2015

A consultation to ensure public services operate in the best interests of children and young people has been launched today. It seeks views on proposals to make sure those who work with families provide a consistent support which will make accessing services easier and improve children’s lives.

The ground-breaking Children and Young People (Scotland) Act was endorsed by the Scottish Parliament in February 2014. The consultation seeks feedback on the draft statutory guidance and secondary legislation that will support key parts of the Act:

  • Every child and young person will have access to a Named Person service - a single point of contact for help, support and advice for families and those working with children
  • Children and young people who need extra support will have a Child’s Plan
  • Children, young people and families can expect services to work together to provide support and help
  • Defining wellbeing for the first time to help make sure everyone uses the same terminology and approach

    More information

Campaigners say young people need protection from alcohol advertising

05 February 2015

There should be stricter regulations on alcohol advertising because of its impact on children, campaigners say. A survey of 800 primary school pupils showed many were more familiar with brands of beer than with leading brands of biscuits, crisps and ice-cream.

The study, by charity Alcohol Concern, showed young children were more familiar with Fosters than McVities. But a UK drinks industry trade body said the research was misleading and that teen-drinking rates were falling.  

A group of health charities surveyed more than 800 pupils at primary schools in England and Scotland and found many children recognised beer brands, particularly if they were associated with major sporting events.

View full article

New Zealand judge Lowell Goddard to lead abuse inquiry

BBC News | 04 February 2015

New Zealand High Court judge Lowell Goddard has been named as the head of a new inquiry into historical child sex abuse in England and Wales. The inquiry will have statutory powers and a new panel, Home Secretary Theresa May told the House of Commons. Mrs May said she was determined to "expose despicable crimes".

More information

CRFR Blog Spots

03 February 2015

CRFR has started 2015 with some thought-provoking, award-winning and high impact blogs. Please do take time to read these recent contributions.

Supporting dads in the context of gender inequality - CRFR Co-Director, Sarah Moron and CRFR Associate Researcher, Gil Virey question the trend in targeting parenting services at specific genders, and most recently dads, when there is little clear evidence that gender itself matters as much to children’s development as having at least one loving, attentive parent. The blog asks timely questions about parenting in the context of gender inequality.

Challenges of policy-oriented research on children’s rights in post-Soviet countries - In this blog, Matthew Maumann reflects on a visit to the Kyrgyzstan’s women’s penal colony as part of a global research project on children of imprisoned mothers.

Girls are taught young that violence towards them is normal CRFR has re-published this award winning blog from CRFR Associate Director and Reader in Sociology and Social Policy at Glasgow Caledonian University, Dr Nancy Lombard. 

Integrating children’s services: exploring practice through comparison - How do local authorities implement integrated children’s services, and what are the dilemmas in providing integrated services? In this blog, Dr Stefanie Schmachtel-Maxfield introduces you to a new project, affiliated with What Works Scotland, which is exploring the strategic leadership involved in delivering integrated children services. The project invites different Scottish local authorities to swap their ‘dilemmas’ to develop a collective response to problems.  

CRFR welcomes guest blogs on topical issues, new research, projects, events or publications. Please email if you have anything you would like to share.

WithScotland Welcomed New Zealand's Minister for Social Development to University of Stirling

WithScotland | 02 February 2015

Staff from WithScotland, the national resource supporting professionals working with children and adults at risk of harm and abuse, welcomed Anne Tolley, Minister for Social Development from New Zealand to the University on Thursday, 29th January.  

Based in the School of Applied Social Science, WithScotland helps to connect research with practice; exchanges knowledge and ideas and coordinates activities across Child and Adult Protection Communities in Scotland.

The meeting provided an opportunity to compare and contrast approaches to research, evaluation and evidence based social policy, and best practice, domestically and globally. Minister Tolley was accompanied by Brendan Boyle, Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development. The Minister spoke to staff with regards to the wider child protection community in Scotland, the sharing of knowledge and expertise via ‘Communities of Practice’, and collaborative working between agencies set up to help protect children.

Beth Smith, Director, WithScotland said: “The WithScotland Research Network provides an opportunity to improve interaction, disseminate and share research. Established and new researchers and graduate students discuss their current research and receive mentoring from colleagues. This introduction to the Minister was initiated via the WithScotland Research Network, which is a great example of a resource which helps to facilitate the sharing of Child Protection knowledge. The Network is made up of over 160 child protection researchers from all over Scotland and helps to generate research evidence that contributes to improving children’s lives. It also helps to build a strategic infrastructure of support for established and early career researchers. We’re delighted to be able to meet with the Minister and to share our knowledge and experience.”

Mrs Tolley commented: “Scotland and New Zealand have much in common with a similar sized population, and a mix of rural and urban areas. It was great to discuss what's working well in this country in delivering social services that make a difference in improving the lives of vulnerable children and their families.”

The Minister was incorporating a trip to the University to meet WithScotland staff as part of a wider visit to Scotland and also met with personnel from Who Cares? Scotland in Glasgow.

Professor Alison Bowes, Head of Applied Social Science, said: “The work of WithScotland is important to the University of Stirling’s strategic priorities in research and knowledge exchange and the University’s ambition to undertake research which makes a real difference to people’s lives. The resource demonstrates the value of research and practice working closely together and we’re delighted to host WithScotland here at the University of Stirling.”

To join the WithScotland Research Network, please contact 

Homelessness: pathways and prevention

IRISS | 02 February 2015

During 2014/15, IRISS has been working with a range of partners on a project focusing on homelessness in Scotland. Homelessness: pathways and prevention, aims to uncover and share new knowledge, learning and evidence about: pathways to homelessness and current interventions which seek to address these approaches to, and developments of, innovations to prevent homelessness joint working across teams, services and organisations.

The project involves creating IRISS.FM episodes (audio recorded panel discussions on key themes around homelessness); a collection of case studies which explore approaches to innovation and prevention in this area; and an IRISS Insight summarising key evidence.  

More information 

Child protection groups struggling to keep up with rate of technological change

Dundee Courier | 02 February 2015

Child safety experts have warned that chat and messaging technology has “grown quicker than our ability to regulate”. The head of child online safety at the NSPCC contributed to the debate surrounding mobile apps following a recent Courier report. Claire Lilley called for tougher legislation in the wake of a court case involving a Tayside man, who sent “inappropriate” messages to a young girl 37 years his junior but was found not guilty of offences under Scottish communications law.  

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New care study will foster understanding

The Herald | 02 February 2015

The decision to take a child into state care is always a challenging one, and one which stokes emotive responses. For social workers and other professionals involved it often feels like an unwinnable decision. On the one hand they face being pilloried for 'snatching' children and breaking up families, on the other they can end up berated for leaving a child at risk, especially in the event of a later tragedy.

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Doctor renews calls for ban on smacking

The Herald | 02 February 2015

A leading doctor has reignited the debate over smacking by calling for a ban the practice saying it contradicts ambitions about protecting and respecting children.  Dr Lucy Reynolds, a consultant community paediatrician in Glasgow, said hitting a child was a violent act and inconsistent with the government aim to create a child-centred society. Its policy Getting it Right for Every Child draws on eight markers - being safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included - to highlight areas of child well-being.  

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Caring for Vulnerable Children

02 February 2015

Develop an understanding of some of the approaches involved in caring for vulnerable children, with this free online course.  In times of austerity and shrinking public services, the task of identifying and caring for vulnerable children has never been more challenging. In this free online course, we’ll help you explore some of the issues involved in undertaking this task.

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Electronic tablets may "stunt" child development

02 February 2015

It is often used by parents to keep their sanity intact and bored youngsters entertained. But new research suggests using an electronic tablet as a calming tool during tantrums could actually stunt child development. An article in medical journal Paediatrics claims devices like iPads may prevent youngsters from developing their own methods of self-regulation.

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Don't just blame internet porn for child sex offenders, says NSPCC

02 February 2015

Disturbing new statistics suggesting children as young as four have been reported to police for rape and other sex offences represent a growing and complex problem faced by parents in Britain, the NSPCC has said. Data released through the Freedom of Information act from police forces across England and Wales showed that almost 800 children below the age of 10 had been investigated for sex crimes.

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