This Sunday (March 18) is National Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Awareness Day, which aims to highlight the issues surrounding CSE and encourage everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse.
Simply put, CSE involves a young person under the age of 18 being manipulated, forced or coerced into taking part in a sexual act in exchange for something.
It can be hard to know the signs and to know what to do, so Kirklees Safeguarding Children’s Board is sharing a list of things to look out for.
CSE can happen to any child or young person of any gender, from any background.
It doesn’t just happen to older children, and it can start really easily. Here are some things to look out for if you’re worried about someone;
l experimenting with drugs and/or alcohol
l having increased health/sexual health related problems
l Older ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ or relationship with a controlling adult
l Having money, mobile phones, sim cards, credit, clothes or other items without plausible explanation and not given by parents/carers
l Volatile/criminal behaviour
l Getting into cars with unknown adults
l Regularly coming home late or going missing overnight or longer
l ‘Sexting’ (sending sexually explicit messages/photographs, generally via mobile)
l Being secretive or withdrawn
l Becoming disruptive at home or school or using offensive language
Sheila Lock, Independent Chair of the Kirklees Safeguarding Children Board, said: “We all play a role in keeping people safe, and it’s important for everyone to know the signs with regards to Child Sexual Exploitation.
“National CSE Awareness Day is a good opportunity for everyone to unite against this terrible crime and share information, good practice and increase awareness in Kirklees, West Yorkshire and indeed nationally.
“As a Safeguarding Children Board in Kirklees we will continue to work proactively with the Adults Board and Community Safety Partnership to help safeguard children, young people and young adults.”
If you think a child in Kirklees is being abused or mistreated or you have concerns about a child’s wellbeing you should call and speak to someone by calling Duty and Advice team on 01484 456848 or Kirklees Emergency Duty Service on 01484 414933 (outside office hours).