Published on February 15th, 2016 | by admin0
Child sexual exploitation campaign on air
A campaign to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation (CSE) takes to the airwaves today (Feb 15).
The regional See Me, Hear Me campaign will feature on the radio over the coming weeks to raise the profile of this abuse crime and help keep children safe.
The campaign, a joint project between West Midlands councils and West Midlands Police highlights the horrors of this hidden crime of manipulation.
Listeners to Free Radio will be made aware of the signs which could mean their child is at risk of being exploited, such as having unexplained money or gifts, skipping school or hanging around with a new group of friends older than them.
People will be directed to the campaign website www.seeme-hearme.org.uk a one-stop shop for information, help and advice for young people, parents and carers, professionals and schools.
The site features an innovative, interactive film, ‘See Me Hear Me: Figure out my story’, which follows the fictional story of a teenage girl at risk of exploitation. The viewer makes decisions about how her story develops, the choices she makes and how it ends.
This aims to not only help raise awareness of CSE among young people but be a focus for discussion about CSE between parents, carers, schools or professionals and young people.
The site also features educational films to raise awareness of CSE, along with campaign posters for individuals and organisations to download and display.
Councillor Ken Meeson, Solihull Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing and Chair of Solihull’s Multi-Agency Health & Wellbeing Board, said:
“Keeping children safe is our top priority and as a region we are working together to raise awareness of this horrific crime.
“By spreading the message across the airwaves we hope it will make more people aware of how to identify CSE and what to do if they are concerned about a child or young person.
“Preventing CSE is everyone’s responsibility and by spotting and acting on the warning signs, we can all play our part in helping to prevent children becoming the victims of this most manipulative of crimes.
“I would also urge people to visit our campaign website www.seeme-hearme.org.uk to find out more and see what they can do to help protect our children and young people.”
CSE is a crime that can affect any child, anytime, regardless of their social or ethnic background. It is child abuse and involves perpetrators grooming their victims in various ways, such as in person, via mobiles or online, to gain their trust before emotionally and sexually abusing them.
It can take place in many forms, whether through a seemingly consensual relationship, or a young person being forced to have sex in return for some kind of payment, such as drugs, money, gifts or even protection and affection.
There are a number of warning signs people may spot in a child or young person’s behaviour that may indicate something is wrong. These include having friends who are older, persistently going missing, secretive relationships with unknown adults, truancy from school, chronic fatigue, constant calls on a mobile phone and the possession of money or new things.
Nick Page, Chief Executive of Solihull Council and Regional Lead for CSE, said:
“Sexual exploitation of children and young people thrives on ignorance, manipulation and vulnerability. No-one in the West Midlands should suffer this crime, and the bullies, abusers and perpetrators need to be held to account.
“This campaign will help us all to understand the importance of identifying those at risk of abuse and teach people how they can help stop this exploitative crime.”
Anyone who is concerned about the safety of a child should call West Midlands Police on 101, speak in confidence to Barnardo’s on 0121 359 5333 or in an emergency call 999.
Childline also has counsellors available online at www.childline.org.uk
People can find out more information about child sexual exploitation at www.seeme-hearme.org.uk