Pace believes parents are, and should be valued as, key players and partners in safeguarding children from sexual exploitation outside the family.
Pace’s vision is to work in partnership with parents to end child sexual exploitation.
Pace believes parents should be valued as key partners in safeguarding children from sexual exploitation by perpetrators external to the family. We set out to:
- Support parents through the trauma of family disruption caused by the external perpetrators of child sexual exploitation.
- Provide parents with knowledge in order to assist in safeguarding their children from sexual exploitation.
- Facilitate parents in communicating their intrinsic role in safeguarding children against sexual exploitation by opening up the channels to voice their experience, role and knowledge.
- Enable parents to be active and respected partners with other agencies in combating child sexual exploitation.
- Work with parents and partners to disrupt and bring perpetrators to justice.
- Collate evidence from the work of Pace and undertake research in order to influence policy and practice.
- Challenge and change public attitudes on child sexual exploitation and the role of families.
- Sustain long term change by training partners in the active role of parents and carers safeguarding their children.
Where we come from
Pace (formerly CROP, the Coalition for the Removal of Pimping) was founded by Irene Ivison and a number of supporting parents in 1996 following the murder of her 17 year old daughter Fiona, who was groomed, sexually exploited and then coerced into prostitution by a known perpetrator. Three weeks after she was forced into prostitution, Fiona was murdered by a client.
Irene had spent three years asking social services to help remove Fiona from her groomer’s clutches. But social care did not deem Fiona to be at risk because she came from a ‘good family’ and they deemed her relationship to be consensual, rather than the calculated exploitation of a vulnerable child. The man who killed her received a life sentence, but the groomer who pimped her remains free today.
It was these twin agency failures – the inability of the social services to intervene and the refusal of the criminal justice system to recognise the groomer’s role in Fiona’s death – which propelled Irene to set up CROP alongside other affected parents.
Right from the start, CROP was run by parents for parents, offering individual telephone support and running self-help groups. When the parents organised the inaugural CROP conference in 1998, they ensured that police officers, social services, health authorities and children’s charities attended to hear their voices for the first time.
Irene died after complications from a routine operation in 2000, just four years after CROP was established. But her influence on government policy was clear. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair thanked her posthumously for her contribution in highlighting that children exploited through prostitution are victims of sexual abuse, and her recommendations informed the Sexual Offences review (2003) and National Plan to Prevent Sexual Exploitation of Children.
From pimps to CSE in groups
In 2002, the organisation received funding for its first full-time Parent Support Worker. Her work enabled the coalition to identify a new form of child sexual exploitation, organised by local networks of formal and informal groups, rather than individual pimps. Today, most of the families supported by Pace are encountering exploitation through this method.