Posted: Wednesday 14th March 2018
Ahead of National Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Awareness Day on Sunday 18 March, Hertfordshire County Council is encouraging parents, education professionals, local business and community groups to help us think, spot, speak out and report signs of sexual exploitation.
Secondary schools and colleges across Hertfordshire are being asked to get involved and make use of free resources developed by the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Board including lesson and assembly plans and a video created to help students understand how to spot the signs of exploitation and where they can go to get help for them or a friend.
The video, which shows the story of a young girl who meets an older man on Facebook, can be viewed in full at https://youtu.be/dRZxFekdKeY.
Throughout the week leading up to and following CSE Awareness Day on 18 March, residents can show their support and help us to raise awareness by writing a personal pledge on their hands and posting the photo on social media with the hashtag #CSEDay18 and #helpinghands
Child Sexual Exploitation has been predominant in the national news recently, and although not currently a widespread issue in Hertfordshire, our aim is to prevent any young person in our county from becoming a victim of this terrible crime.
It’s important that professionals and parents help us to educate our young people to understand what this type of abuse might look like and know where to go for help.
Hertfordshire Constabulary’s specialist CSE team, known as the Halo unit, received 91 reports in the last quarter of 2017 in relation to the sexual exploitation of children in the county. In many instances court orders, such as Sexual Harm Prevention Orders and Sexual Risk Orders, were successfully sought by Police to control the behaviour of suspects, including conditions such as stopping them from having contact with children under the age of 18.
Very often the young people who are being sexually exploited in return for drugs, alcohol or social status do not see themselves as victims. As a result they do not to tell people in authority who could help, such as police or teachers, about what is happening to them.
It is important that young people are taught about what exploitation is and that it has no place in any relationship
For more information about CSE and what to look out for visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/cse.
If you suspect a young person is falling victim to child sexual exploitation please report it; you can call the Police on 101, speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111, contact ChildLine on 0800 1111 or get in touch with Children’s Services on 0300 123 2043.
For more information on YC Hertfordshire and the programmes and workshops they run to educate young people healthy sexual relationships visit www.youthconnexions-hertfordshire.org