‘Helping hands’ pledge to help stop child sexual exploitation
Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Hogg and Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer are lending their helping hands to a national day of action to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation, by making a palm pledge.
Their palm pledges, ‘#StopCSE’, will be posted on Facebook and Twitter accounts to help raise awareness of this issue across the region. The campaign aims to encourage people in all walks of life to speak out against CSE by writing a message of support on their palm and posting a photo on social media under the #helpinghands hashtag.
PCC Tony Hogg said:, “This campaign has my fullest support and comes at a time when we are, more than ever, prioritising resources to cover issues of vulnerability and working alongside our partners to combat child sexual exploitation.”
CSE involves young people and children being 'groomed' and sexually exploited. It can take many forms, such as through an apparently 'consensual' relationship with an older person, or a young person having sex in return for attention, gifts, cigarettes and/or alcohol. It can occur via the use of technology, for example a child being persuaded to post inappropriate images onto the internet.
Chief Constable, Shaun Sawyer, said: “We must ensure that both the public and support services are clear and proactive in spotting the warning signs of this type of abuse and that victims are encouraged to come forward and get help.
“Raising awareness around child sexual exploitation is of the highest importance to me. I am giving my full support to this initiative.”
On average, it takes seven years for children to disclose sexual abuse because they have no-one they trust to turn to, no-one listens to them or no-one notices the warning signs.
Chair of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Safeguarding Children Board, John Clements, added “In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly there is a real commitment to help and protect our children against everything and anything that can harm them.
“We know how child sexual exploitation can damage lives and we are determined to provide the best response we possibly can. Are we there yet? No, not quite but we are working hard to get there.
“We want people with concerns to contact us and we want children and young people to know that we will listen.
“Everybody is pulling in the right direction but we need more people involved. Parents, relatives, friends and members of the public all have a role to play and can help the professionals. I hope campaigns like this help get our message out there”.
Devon and Cornwall Police is working to inform and educate people around this form of child abuse and encourages victims to come forward and report abuse.
Frontline officers, support agencies, teachers and carers, have been trained to spot warning signs of grooming and exploitation.
For further information and advice about CSE, including how to spot the warning signs, how to get help and how to report it visit: www.dc.police.uk/CSE or for further about the campaign visit: www.stop-cse.org
For help contact:
NSPCC at: www.nspcc.org.uk or telephone: 0808 800 5000
Barnado’s at: www.barnardos.org.uk