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Partners Urged to Join Campaign to Stop Child Sexual Exploitation

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Tue 15 Mar 2016

Announcement from Staffordshire County Council who are encouraging Partners to help put a stop to Child Sexual Exploitation by joining a new campaign:-

'Partners supporting parents, children or young people in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire are being asked to help tackle child sexual exploitation by supporting a new campaign.

The ‘Know About CSE campaign, which starts on Monday 7th March and coincides with national CSE Awareness Day on Friday 18th March, will help parents and young people understand  and recognise child sexual exploitation, and know how to report it.

Because CSE can be difficult to recognise and mistaken for ‘normal teenage’ behaviour, and because victims don’t readily tell someone if they have concerns, we need as many partners as possible to get involved and help people to recognise the warning signs of a child being groomed or exploited, and report their concerns.

It’s a sad fact that any child of any age, any gender and of any background can be a victim, and that it wrecks lives.  Offenders groom their victims in various ways, such as in person, via mobiles or online, making the child believe they are in a trusting and normal relationship before breaking that trust.

The child may be showered with free gifts, money or even thrive on a sense of belonging and think they are in a ‘normal’ relationship. They may even be persuaded to send sexual images. 

Then the relationship changes - and they may feel forced to have sex or post or send images of themselves in return, and may feel powerless to say no.

Other sexual relationships can start quickly with threats, blackmail, bribery and threats to be sexually exploited. These children don't tell anyone because they are scared.

With new technologies such as mobile phones and the internet, and with research showing that most young people don’t question the honesty of the people they speak to so freely online, exploitation may occur without your child’s permission or without your child even recognising they are being exploited. 

Over the next few weeks, events, media coverage, a social media campaign and  communication to parents and in school will take place to get people talking about the issue and using the brand new website for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent at www.knowaboutcse.co.uk

Partners can get involved by:

1)Encouraging young people to fill in the short survey at http://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/yourcouncil/consultationandfeedback/consultationdetails.aspx?consultationid=cse-curvey-for-young-people&consultationdeptid=communications to help understand current levels of understanding around online safety and CSE

2)making sure all colleagues know about CSE, the warning signs and how to report concerns. A short video and more extensive presentation about CSE is available at http://www.staffsscb.org.uk/Training/Learning-resources/Know-about-CSE-for-professionals.aspx

3)downloading the campaign toolkit of marketing materials, promotional copy and digital materials to help spread the word. This can be found at http://www.staffsscb.org.uk/Training/Learning-resources/Know-about-CSE-campaign-resources-for-partners.aspx

The toolkit is made of four parts:

  • Introduction to the campaign toolkit: This gives an overview of what’s in the toolkit and provides some hints and tips on how the material provided can be used across channels
  • Creative material: Showcases the campaign’s advertising and creative assets, such as posters,  leaflets and calling cards for parents, young people, teacher professionals and businesses, and information on how these can be tailored locally
  • Digital assets: Including banners, infographics  and social media posts ( social media posts for the w/c 14 and 21 March will be made available by Thursday 4th March)
  • PR and written content: Containing the campaign key messages, as well as a breadth of written copy covering subjects such as signs to spot, who to talk to if you suspect abuse, what grooming and targeting is, what to do if you’ve been asked to a party, etc, that are suitable for a number of different audiences. The content provided can be used in various ways – when drafting articles, newsletters, blogs and web copy for example.   

4)Getting involved in the  national ‘Helping Hands’ social media campaign on the 18th March.  One of the reasons that young people don’t tell someone that they are being abused is because they don’t understand who they can tell and who will help them.  We’re encouraging representatives from across every organisation in Stafford to take a picture of their hands with ‘ ‘I’m listening’ and tweeting to @StaffsCC. Find out more at http://www.stop-cse.org/national-child-exploitation-awareness-day/

5)Contacting clare.abbotts@staffordshire.gov.uk  with any CSE related activity that you are implementing to discuss using promotional materials or engaging with the media.

6)Contacting clare.abbotts@staffordshire.gov.uk   if you work with any young person or adult who has experience of CSE and may be willing, with complete anonymity and sensitivity, work with the communications team to tell their story.

Partners are being asked in particular to use the ‘Party Animal’ poster and information and the ‘What to look out for’ information when speaking with young people.  These specifically challenge young people to consider if they really know who they are socialising with both on and offline, and how they may pay a very high price for accepting free drink, free gifts, etc. It’s designed to warn young people to be wary if they are invited to parties or gatherings.  It’s not about stopping young people having fun, but encouraging to take care and get in tell someone if they uncomfortable or get into trouble.'

Do you have any questions? Contact:

  • Clare Abbotts - Staffordshire County Council on 01785 277135
  • Fay Boulton – Stoke on Trent City Council, 01782 236703