WARWICKSHIRE Police, Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Barnardo’s and Warwickshire County Council are supporting the national Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day on Monday 18th March by running an awareness week.
Police, Barnardo’s and the council form the multi-agency team in Warwickshire leading the county response and are behind the ‘Something’s Not Right’ campaign aiming to raise awareness and tackle child sexual exploitation (CSE) at the early stages.
During 2018, the team supported more than 100 children and young people affected by CSE in Warwickshire and conducted 27 prosecutions to combat the threats posed by perpetrators. As a result, more than 100 years of imprisonment, and numerous comparative restrictive orders and sex offender registration orders have been secured.
There has been an increase in reported cases of CSE in the county, which is believed to be partly attributed to increased awareness of the issue and identification of cases.
A key feature of the team’s work is to place a strong emphasis on training and raising awareness in the community. Over the past year they have provided targeted training in hotels, pubs, clubs and bars, fast food venues, as well as to taxi drivers, health organisations and schools.
Detective Inspector Jill Fowler from Warwickshire Police said: “Together with our partners we are committed to protecting children from harm, and we are working to inform, educate and prevent child sexual exploitation.
“Individuals who sexually abuse and exploit children pose a significant risk to our society and we will continue to identify and pursue them through the criminal justice system at every opportunity.
“CSE can affect young people from all walks of life, there is no stereotypical victim of exploitation but there are warning signs in children’s behaviour that may indicate something’s not right. It is important that everyone can recognise these warning signs and know where to turn to for help so that interventions can be put in place at the earliest opportunity.
“If you’re worried about the way someone is treating you, someone else, or if Something’s Not Right, call or text the Say Something helpline on 116 000. It’s anonymous and free.”