Several organisations will be joining forces to support national Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day.
Warwickshire Police, Barnardo’s and Warwickshire County Council are supporting the awareness day on March 18 by running an awareness week, beginning on Monday (March 12).
Throughout the week, police will be raising awareness of child sexual exploitation (CSE) to the public, businesses, parents, professionals and young people who may be worried about their friends.
The police, Barnardo’s and the council form the multi-agency team in Warwickshire and are behind the Something’s Not Right campaign aiming to raise awareness and tackle CSE at the early stages.
Detective Chief Inspector Nigel Jones from Warwickshire Police said: “Together with our partners we are working to inform, educate and prevent child sexual exploitation.
“If people know what to look out for they can take steps to help a child that is being exploited. Everyone in society has a responsibility to do all they can to protect vulnerable young people.
“CSE can affect young people from all walks of life, there is no stereotypical victim of exploitation but there are warning signs in children’s behaviour that may indicate something’s not right. It is important that everyone can recognise these warning signs and know where to turn to for help so that interventions can be put in place at the earliest opportunity.”
Rachel Hopper from Barnardo’s, and CSE Manager for Warwickshire said: “Warwickshire’s partnership approach to tackling CSE means that we are able to effectively support victims, as well as targeting locations of concern and pursuing offenders.
“The addition of Barnardo’s nationally recognised CSE specialism within the team enables therapeutic, evidence-based support to be provided to victims of CSE in Warwickshire.”
Cllr Jeff Morgan, Warwickshire County Council portfolio holder for children’s services, said: “Many agencies are working together with the shared aim of tackling CSE in Warwickshire. For Warwickshire County Council this forms a key part of our commitment to putting children at the heart of all we do and keeping all our residents safe from harm.
“I would like to remind members of the public that they also have a role to play in telling us when they see something that’s not right. More often than not, if you think something’s not right - chances are, you are right.”
On Wednesday (March 14) Warwickshire Police is hosting an online discussion for members of the public to ask questions about the work they are doing to tackle child sexual exploitation.
People can log on to the force website between 7pm and 8pm for the session.
A team of representatives including Detective Sergeant Kathryn Somerville from Warwickshire Police, Katy Shipley from Barnardo’s and Ramdeep Sandhu from Warwickshire County Council Children Services will be answering questions.
Anyone who would like to ask a question but is not able to join the conversation on the day can send in questions in advance by tweeting @WarksCSE or by posting a message on the warwickshirecse Facebook page.
People can also ask questions privately.
Detective Chief Inspector Nigel Jones said: “We know how important it is to keep the public updated on all the work we are doing to tackle child sexual exploitation.
“This is a great way for people to speak directly to the officers and team who investigate these offences and support young people.”
To join the online conversation on the day go to: https://www.warwickshire.police.uk/WarwickshireCSEwebchat
If you’re worried about the way someone is treating you, or someone else. If Something’s Not Right, call or text the Say Something helpline on 116 000.
It is anonymous and free.
Anyone with concerns about a child should visit www.somethingsnotright.org for more information on how to recognise the signs of exploitation, spot when something’s not right and where to get help.