You may have seen the media story regarding the Father-daughter trip that sparked a Travelodge alert :
Following up on that story ITV This Morning invited Mr Darwell (the Dad) into the studio for an interview.
The NWG feel we should respond to some of the public opinion that resulted from that interview and have sent the following statement to ITV.
Re: This Morning 06.04.17
The NWG is a charitable organisation formed as a UK network of over 13 000 practitioners who disseminate our information down through their services, to professionals working on the issue of child sexual exploitation (CSE) and trafficking within the UK.
As an organisation we were particularly interested in the story aired on 6th April, ‘Meet the man who was wrongly accused of being a paedophile’, and in particular the public response to the segment of last Thursday’s This Morning show.
In partnership with police forces, local authorities, and the hotel trade, The NWG has campaigned to increase awareness of child sexual exploitation within the hospitality industry, in order to protect children from harm and enable businesses to ensure their premises are not used as locations where sexual abuse takes place.
This partnership approach has been taken following cases of child sexual exploitation where hotels were used to facilitate abuse, and in some cases instances where the premises license was revoked due to the negligence of staff.
Recent child protection scandals have reiterated the need to encourage reporting of concerns from a broader range of professionals than just safeguarding agencies, including hotel staff and taxi drivers. The message has been clear – any concerns should be reported to those authorities with responsibilities to protect children.
As with any campaign to increase the reporting of concerns there may be instances where a ‘good-intentioned call’ turns out to be less sinister than at first thought. Whilst these calls may result in members of the public being challenged, the consequences of missing an opportunity to prevent the abuse of a child outweigh the risks.
Hotel staff and responding professionals should always carry out investigations in a sensitive way to ensure there is as little intrusion and embarrassment as possible caused for guests, but ensuring the safeguarding of children remains paramount.
The case recently shown on This Morning highlights the challenges faced by hotel staff in differentiating between innocent family excursions and potentially risky situations for children.
Whilst sympathising with Craig, the father involved, it was heartening to hear he recognised the need for checks to be carried out, despite the distress caused in this case. We would echo his views on the need for further industry-wide work to address the risk of child sexual exploitation.