On the 7th September 2015 Baroness Benjamin asked the Government ‘what steps they are taking to protect children with learning difficulties and disabilities from sexual exploitation.’ The Bishop of Peterborough the Rt Revd. Donald Allister asked a supplementary question regarding increasing therapeutic support for children at risk.
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, given that abused children often do not show symptoms for some years, and that children with learning disabilities tend to show symptoms in different ways that are not as easily recognised, does the Minister agree that all children who are subject to sexual harm prevention orders or sexual risk orders should receive assessment of their needs and therapeutic support even before signs or symptoms are shown?
Lord Ashton of Hyde: That is a very sensible suggestion. These symptoms take time to manifest themselves. However, we realise that people with special needs have needs which go on beyond the conventional age of adulthood. The relevant statutory guidance for young people with special educational needs and disabilities extends to the age of 25.