Campaign raises awareness of child sexual exploitation amid figures that show it has risen by more than a third in Cambridgeshire
- Credit: Archant
Child sexual exploitation has risen by more than a third in Cambridgeshire, according to figures, released ahead of a national day to educate young people about inappropriate behaviour from adults.
Groups across Cambridgeshire are showing their hands in support of the campaign to highlight child sexual exploitation (CSE).
Signs include receiving unexpected gifts or money, using their phone secretly, hanging out with older people and changes in appearance.
Police are among those encouraging everyone to think, spot, speak out against abuse and adopt a zero tolerance to adults developing inappropriate relationships with children.
Detective Inspector Claire Hewson said: “CSE remains a priority for the force and we’re pleased to support this national awareness day.
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“It’s the responsibility of everyone to recognise the warning signs and know what to do when they are worried about the safety of a young person.
“By joining with the NWG Network and local partner agencies, we can raise awareness of CSE nationwide and reach a network of friends family and social groups.”
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A spokesman for the Peterborough Safeguarding Boards said: “It’s important that young people are aware that they can talk about the issue and know they will be believed and supported.”
Jason Ablewhite, Police and Crime Commissioner, added: “Child sexual exploitation is everyone’s business. I hope today will send a strong message encouraging everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse.”
The national campaign day is on Saturday March 18.
• In 2016 police dealt with 191 offences of CSE compared to 140 the previous (2015).
• Around 35 per cent of the offences took place online and police are encouraging young people to protect themselves by thinking before sharing explicit images online or via text.
• CSE is a form of sexual abuse that involves the manipulation and/or coercion of young people under the age of 18 into sexual activity. Any child can be sexually exploited no matter what culture, ethnicity, religion, whether a boy or a girl from any background.
• To support the awareness day, which can be anything from speaking out to educating others and upload it to social media with the hashtag #helpinghands.