Warwickshire Police, Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Barnardo’s and Warwickshire County Council are supporting the National Child Exploitation Awareness Day on Wednesday (18 March) by running an awareness week.
Child exploitation (CE) is a type of child abuse and involves the manipulation and/or coercion of young people under the age of 18.
Police, Barnardo’s and the council form the multi-agency team in Warwickshire leading the county response and are behind the ‘Something’s Not Right’ campaign aiming to raise awareness and tackle child exploitation (CE) at the early stages.
Child Exploitation can manifest itself in different forms, including child abuse, sexual exploitation, county lines drug dealing, human trafficking and online grooming.
A key feature of the team’s work is to place a strong emphasis on training and raising awareness in the community. Over the past year they have provided targeted training to schools, health organisations, taxi drivers and commercial premises such as hotels, pubs, and clubs.
Detective Inspector Lisa Sears from the Child Exploitation and Missing Persons Team at Warwickshire Police said: “Together with our partners we are committed to protecting children from harm, and we are working to inform, educate and prevent child exploitation.
“Individuals who abuse and exploit children pose a significant risk to our society and we will continue to identify and pursue them through the criminal justice system at every opportunity.
“Child Exploitation 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.”
“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.”
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “There’s little doubt the child exploitation remains an issue in Warwickshire and one that affects some of the most vulnerable in society – children.
“That’s why I have ensured that the funding is in place to boost Warwickshire Police’s capability to identify the perpetrators of abuse and bring them to justice and provide sustained support and care for victims.
“This includes the funding for an additional 13 detective posts in the specialist Child Abuse, Trafficking and Exploitation Team over the next 12 months.
“But the police cannot tackle these issues alone and that’s why it’s vitally important to work with partners to tackle this issue across the country. I commission RosA and Barnardo’s to work jointly together to ensure that all victims of sexual abuse and violence and child sexual exploitation have seamless support in one place to meet their needs, from childhood through to adulthood.
“Barnardo’s in particular has been heavily involved with the multi-agency Warwickshire CSE Team for a number of years and continues to develop the successful ‘Something’s Not Right’ campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of CSE and promote access to help and advice.”
Friends, parents, carers – what you can do to help:
Know the signs – warning signs of exploitation include unexplained gifts, unexplained changes in behaviour or personality, changes in physical appearance such as weight loss, being absent from school, going missing, or being overly familiar with friends that you don’t know. Visit www.warwickshirecse.co.uk/young-peopleto learn more.
- Visit Barnardo’s Real Love Rocks www.realloverocks.org.uk – a hub for raising awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation and what a healthy and safe relationship is.
- Visit Respect Yourself www.respectyourself.info – a website put together by Warwickshire County Council’s Respect Yourself Campaign Team in partnership with NHS Warwickshire, Coventry University and with a huge input from young people themselves.
- Please follow, like and share our posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, we are sharing important content on warning signs, advice and how to report concerns all week alongside our usual awareness raising content.
- If you think someone you know is being exploited, please report it to help and protect that child or young person – your observations and phone call could make all the difference to an exploited child.
If you’re worried about the way someone is treating you, someone else, or if Something’s Not Right, call or text the Say Something helpline on 116 000. It’s anonymous and free.
Anyone with concerns about a child, location or situation should call police on 101 and you can visit www.warwickshirecse.co.uk for more information on how to recognise the signs of exploitation, spot when something’s not right and where to get help. Always call 999 in an emergency.