People are being urged to look out for the signs of child sexual exploitation and report it as part of national CSE awareness Day.
The day, on Saturday 18 March is calling on parents, children, organisations and schools to unite in tackling CSE and aims to raise awareness and understanding of the issue, how to spot the signs and how to report it.
In Staffordshire, a new website at www.knowaboutcse.co.uk is now helping children and their parents with advice along with useful tools, videos and tips on spotting the signs.
Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Staffordshire County Council said:
“Child sexual exploitation is a horrendous crime that wrecks lives and destroys families. It can take many forms – both over the internet and within the community – and can be difficult to spot, unless you know what to look out for. That’s why we want people to be able to recognise the warning signs and take action.
“CSE is everyone’s responsibility and I would urge people to please take a look at the website and help us all keep children and young people safe.”
Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a form of sexual abuse that involves the manipulation and/or coercion of young people under the age of 18 into sexual activity.
In 2015, more than 400,000 children experiencing some sort of child abuse in England were supported because someone noticed they needed help, but a third of people who suspected abuse did nothing – either because they don’t think it’s their responsibility or they think that they have to be sure that abuse is taking place.
National CSE Awareness Day is being co-ordinated by National Charity the NWG Network.
A Staffordshire wide campaign warning teenagers about the risks of being invited to parties where they could be sexually exploited or groomed is also being planned for the autumn. Young people will be reminded that nothing in life comes for free. And, by accepting free gifts or going to parties with people they don’t know, young people are putting themselves at risk.
Young people worried about child sexual exploitation can talk to a trusted adult or call Childline on 0800 1111 which is free and available 24 hours a day and the number won’t appear on a telephone bill.
Parents can also get advice from the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000. Anyone who suspects a child is at immediate harm from sexual exploitation should Call 999.