Chief Constable of Warwickshire Police Andy Parker said: “Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse in which children are sexually exploited for money, power or status.
“Children or young people may be tricked into believing they’re in a loving, consensual relationship. They might be invited to parties and given drugs and alcohol. They may also be groomed online.
“Some children and young people are trafficked into or within the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation can also happen to young people in gangs.”
Is your child or friend:
– Regularly missing from home or school
– Receiving lots of texts or phone calls prior to leaving
– Changing in physical appearance or personal hygiene
– Experiencing low self-esteem or self-harming
Have you noticed:
– A change in behaviour – becoming aggressive and disruptive or quiet and withdrawn
– Unexplained gifts of new possessions such as clothes, jewellery, mobile phones or money that can’t be accounted for
– Increase in the amount of time spent online and/or secretive use
– A new ‘boyfriend’ or ‘friend’ or lots of new friends
– Sudden involvement in criminal behaviour or increased offending
– Physical symptoms or infections such as bruising, bite marks, sexually transmitted infections
– Evidence or suspicion of substance misuse – drugs/alcohol/solvents/legal highs
Detective Inspector Nigel Jones, who heads up the Child Sexual Exploitation service for Warwickshire and West Mercia Police, said: “There are various figures on the scale of child sexual exploitation in Warwickshire, but in reality these are all estimates, and probably below what the reality is.
“We are determined to stop children being abused and exploited, to prevent harm to those being abused, bring justice to all those who commit such abhorrent crimes, and to ensure the public are confident to come forward when they require our help.
“The young person involved might not even be aware what is happening, so it might be a school friend, a parent, a taxi driver or a teacher who spots what is happening and helps bring an end to the exploitation.
“I’d urge anyone to contact us when they see something’s not right. Call 01926 684490 to discuss your concerns or visit http://warwickshirecse.co.uk”
If you are a taxi driver, sell alcohol, work in hotel or bed and breakfast accommodation; or other place where leisure activities take place, you can be in a good position to spot when something’s not right and take action.
Is your customer:
– Under 18 years old
– Drinking alcohol
– Going to a hotel, house party or secluded location
David Peplow, the Chair of Warwickshire Safeguarding Board, said: “Many agencies are working together to try and tackle CSE in Warwickshire, but the public has their role to play in telling us when they see that scenario that’s not right.
“If you think something’s not right – chances are you are right!”
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “Child Sexual Exploitation 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.”
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball said: “Safeguarding the young people of Warwickshire is an absolute priority and I’m extremely pleased to see these steps being taken to both raise awareness of CSE and increase the number of cases reported.”
The campaign has been made possible thanks to the support of the Blue Sky Centre (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) in Nuneaton with partners including Warwickshire Police, Warwickshire County Council, Barnardo’s and the NHS.
Child Sexual Exploitation is happening in Warwickshire, don’t risk ignoring it. Call 01926 684490 to discuss your concerns or visit http://warwickshirecse.co.uk