WEST Mercia Police and its partners are supporting the National Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Awareness Day this Monday, March 18.
They were using the www.tell-someone.org campaign to raise awareness of the signs to look out for and urge people to come forward to report any concerns to police or partners.
Detective Superintendent Dean Jones said “Local events and activities designed to encourage participation in the campaign will be taking place on Monday to highlight the ongoing partnership work to tackle CSE across the West Mercia region. Follow #tellsomeone on Twitter for details.
“We are also asking the public to please support the campaign by retweeting social media messages and taking time to recognise the signs of abuse by visiting www.tell-someone.org”
West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “It is a harsh reality that children are exploited in communities up and down the country. We know that this sort of abuse is typically very under reported.
“If you are a victim, or have any suspicions at all that someone may be, please report them to the police. I have invested significantly to ensure our police have the resources and expertise to tackle this sort of complex crime. I have also worked to ensure specialist services are in place to support victims.
“The more we do collectively to recognise the signs of CSE, the more we can protect vulnerable young people, and the more our police can bring offenders of this abhorrent type of crime to justice.”
CSE is a type of child abuse. It happens when a young person is encouraged, or forced, to take part in sexual activity in exchange for something. The reward might be presents, money, alcohol, or simply just the promise of love and affection. The young person may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual.
It might seem like a normal friendship or relationship at the beginning, but the young person might be persuaded to do sexual things they don’t want to do in return for something.
CSE does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology and without the child or young person’s immediate knowledge.
Abusers can be very clever in the way they manipulate young people. That is why everyone can play a role in keeping children and young people safe.
Parents, carers, and other adults should look out for the warning signs and tell someone if they have any concerns.
Warning signs of grooming include unexplained gifts, unexplained changes in behaviour or personality, changes in physical appearance such as weight loss, being absent from school, staying out late, being secretive about where they are going, going missing, being overly familiar with friends that you don’t know and a lack of interest in activities and hobbies.
Trust your instinct, if you have concerns, tell someone, call police on 101 or contact a support agency. Details and more information about CSE can be found on www.tell-someone.org