Warwickshire Police, Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Barnardo’s and Warwickshire County Council are supporting the national Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day on Monday (18 March) by running an awareness week.
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 sexual exploitation (CSE) at the early stages.
During 2018, the team supported more than 100 children and young people affected by CSE in Warwickshire and conducted 27 prosecutions to combat the threats posed by perpetrators. As a result, more than 100 years of imprisonment, and numerous comparative restrictive orders and sex offender registration orders have been secured.
There has been an increase in reported cases of CSE in the county, which is believed to be partly attributed to increased awareness of the issue and identification of cases.
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 in hotels, pubs, clubs and bars, fast food venues, as well as to taxi drivers, health organisations and schools.
Detective Inspector Jill Fowler from 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 sexual exploitation.
“Individuals who sexually 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.
“CSE 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 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.
“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: “CSE is happening in Warwickshire; this isn’t just an urban area problem.
“It is a priority for us and the force, and we have just commissioned several organisations to help tackle the issue and support victims.
“We also fund a number of organisations who work closely with the force and we continue to monitor the issue as it develops.”
Cllr Jeff Morgan, WCC Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, said: “Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) in Warwickshire is a key objective for us as part of our commitment to put children at the heart of everything we do and in our initiatives to keep residents safe.
“CSE is a form of sexual abuse that can affect any child, anytime, anywhere – regardless of their social or ethnic background. It is something that we all need to be aware of and take action when we see the signs.”
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.
If you are – or know anyone who is – being sexually exploited, please call us on 101 (always call 999 in an emergency).
If you’re worried about the way someone is treating you, or someone else. If Something’s Not Right, call or text the Say Something helpline on 116 000. It’s anonymous and free.