New Abuse Watchdog Needed, Says Campaigner
A leading child abuse campaigner has called for the creation of an independent body to coordinate efforts to tackle what she believes is a widespread problem in the UK.
Christine Tuck issued the call after an investigation revealed 1,400 children in Rotherham had been sexually abused over a period of 16 years.
Ms Tuck, 42, the founder of Survivors of Abuse, told Sky News that sexual abuse of children occurs throughout British society.
"Abuse knows no bounds," she said. "It crosses cultures, genders, backgrounds and socio-economic groups.
"It is a societal problem and we need to deal with it accordingly and with a zero-tolerance policy."
Ms Tuck said the present system of child protection was bureaucratic and riddled with prejudice and fear, and badly in need of reform.
"People have been shocked by all the different abuse stories in the media but don't realise the extent of the problem.
"We speak about the different services in isolation. Let's put them altogether and look at the bigger picture."
Ms Tuck would like to see a national body formed to oversee the reporting of child abuse, prosecutions, and aftercare for victims and families.
To work, she said it would need to be "properly funded and have clear policies, procedures and governance".
She also called for greater protection for whistleblowers, to encourage more to come forward.
"As things stand people are unlikely to report any concerns they might have for fear of losing their jobs and their homes.
"That is not good enough and it is not in the best interest of victims. Abusers have to know they will be found out and brought to justice."
Even more important, Ms Tuck told Sky News, is that victims are heard and get the help and support they need.
"Children of any age do not want sexual contact," she said. "They just want to be loved and nurtured in the right way and be listened to."
:: The first ever conference in the UK for abuse survivors, Life After Abuse, is being held in central London on September 13.
(c) Sky News 2014