This Sunday (18 March) is National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Raising Day, and the local Clinical Commissioning Groups are encouraging everyone to spot the signs of abuse and report it.
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) happens in every town and city in the UK with an independent report finding at least 1,400 cases between 1997 and 2013.
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, with the national awareness day encouraging everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse and adopt a zero tolerance to adults developing inappropriate relationships with children and children forming inappropriate sexual relationships with their peers.
Stephanie Lowe, Designated Nurse for Safeguarding Children on behalf of the six Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “Everyone has a role to play in raising awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation.
“Any child can be sexually exploited no matter what culture, ethnicity, religion, whether a boy or a girl from any background.
“NHS staff are in a unique position where they may be able to see signs that a child is being sexually exploited, and we will be sharing these messages to try and made a difference.”
The Children’s Society advise that the signs that a child may be at harm are:
• They are regularly suffering from sexually transmitted infections
• They have unexplained physical injuries such as bruising
• Having mood swings or being emotionally volatile
• Self-harm or suicide attempts.
Share your support for National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Raising Day by using the hashtags #CSEDay18 and #HelpingHands on social media.
If you’re worried that a child or young person is at risk or is being abused contact the children’s social care team at your local council. Visit the Gov.uk website to find out how.
You’ll be asked for your details, but you can choose not to share them.
Call 999 if the child is at immediate risk, or call the police on 101 if you think a crime has been committed.