British Prime Minister David Cameron said tackling child sexual abuse was a national priority on a par with organised crime on Tuesday, announcing measures to prevent systematic abuse.
Britain has been rocked by a series of child sex abuse revelations, including a case in Rotherham, northern England, where some 1,400 children, some as young as 11, were abused by gangs of men.
“I’ve just spent half an hour with some of the survivors of abuse in Rotherham and these are stories that are going to stay with me forever. They are absolutely horrific,” Cameron said at a meeting of victim groups, police and child protection experts held in his official London residence.
“Young girls … being abused over and over again on an industrial scale, being raped, being passed from one bunch of perpetrators to another bunch of perpetrators.”
Classifying child sexual abuse as a national threat will create a duty for police forces to collaborate across regions to safeguard children, Cameron’s office said. Cameron also announced other measures to improve coordination between public bodies and a helpline to encourage whistleblowers.