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Warwickshire agencies ahead of the curve on child sexual exploitation #childabuse

A new report from the Office of the Children’s Commissioner has outlined how agencies across the country should help protect children from sexual exploitation by putting into place many of the measures already taken by authorities in Warwickshire.

The ‘If Only Someone Had Listened’ report, the result of a two-year inquiry, provides recommendations for how agencies can help children who have been sexually exploited and safeguard those currently at risk.

Amongst the suggestions are that organisations and services involve children and young people in the development of anti-exploitation plans and provide them with regular opportunities to provide feedback on their experiences – steps already being taken in Warwickshire through the development of a Young People’s Project Board and by the county’s innovative Respect Yourself campaign.

Together with Warwickshire County Council, the NHS, and third sector agencies in the region, Warwickshire Police has set up a ‘task and finish’ group to investigate how the issue of child sexual exploitation can best be tackled. Crucially, young people from the Project Board are invited to sit in on the group’s sessions and share their opinions.

The Respect Yourself campaign, delivered by Warwickshire County Council and evaluated by Coventry University, gives young people the power to confidently make positive, informed decisions about their relationships and sexual health by building their knowledge and self-esteem.

Detective Inspector Nigel Jones of Warwickshire Police said: “This report is a welcome insight into child sexual exploitation and it is encouraging to see the issue being discussed openly by so many people.

“The Office of the Children’s Commissioner’s study reinforces the importance of sharing information across different agencies and giving young people a voice in efforts to prevent child sexual exploitation.

“Together with our partners across Warwickshire, we are working hard to protect children in the region and offer them the information, advice and support they need to stay safe. This process involves us all closely collaborating with local young people and putting the emphasis on their needs and ideas.”

If you are concerned about someone you know being involved in child sexual exploitation, contact ChildLine on 0800 1111 or call Warwickshire Police on 01926 410 111.

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