A wake-up call over the predators

A wake-up call over the predators

A wake-up call over the predators

First published in Our View

The safety of children and young people from the attentions of sexual predators has never been more in focus, thanks to the sad and sordid events which have unfolded in Rotherham recently.

The "grooming" of young people - preparing them for abuse by pretending to befriend them or welcome them into a circle of people - seems never to have been more prevalent, and the fact it seems so widespread is a deplorable indictment on modern society.

So it will be with some dismay that many people will read that a report has revealed that up to 100 children in the Bradford district are at risk from being sexually exploited at any given time.

And 26 warnings have been issued to people deemed to be acting suspiciously around children, with the threat of further police action if they don't desist.

There may be some school of thought that suggests if suspicious characters likely to harm children have been identified, then a more robust course of action is required than simply giving warnings.

But it is a fact that without hard evidence, the police can only make sure these people know they are being watched. It is a different matter once a crime has been committed... but by that point a child's life has been ruined.

Prevention is better than cure, which is why it is important for children to be warned themselves about the dangers of exploitation. It is a fine line to tread, though, to ensure that children are not unduly terrified while at the same time know the danger signs.

The responsibility for avoiding abuse should not be wholly on the potential victims though - it is the perpetrators who must be stopped and brought swiftly to justice.

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