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Call for child exploitation training in churches to match police standards

The Magdalene Group in Norwich also welcomed an announcement the government is spending an extra £40 million to tackle the issue, in order to prevent a repeat of high-profile scandals in places including Rotherham and Rochdale.

Speaking on Premier's News Hour programme, Sarah Plastow from the organisation said courses for church staff should be as comprehensive as training recently undergone by police in London.

Sarah went on to say: "Anyone that works with young people, that has a responsibility for young people needs to have an awareness and an understanding of what child sexual exploitation is.

"Families members [and] even members of the public actually have a responsibility to look out for those signs and indicators, to protect our children and young people."

PA

The National Crime Agency is being awarded £20 million to combat online exploitation, while £2.2 million will be given to charities which protect children vulnerable to trafficking.

Writing for the parenting website Mumsnet, Home Secretary Amber Rudd (pictured above) said: "The measures I am announcing today will further improve our ability to protect children and under my watch I am determined to bring those that would try to steal their childhood to justice."

Figures published by the government on Thursday revealed police recorded a 24 per cent increase in child sexual abuse offences involving physical contact.

Among the other measures announced was a new Centre of Expertise to provide better information to train people on the front line.

Sarah Plastow went on to say: "It's a starts.

"It's good that it has come from the government but, yes, I think it's an ongoing issue that needs addressing and will be something that we're continually having to look at, as a country."

Click here to listen to Sarah Plastow from the Magdalene Group speaking with Premier's Antony Bushfield:

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