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CSE Awareness

CHILD EXPLOITATION AWARENESS - SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN IS EVERYONE’S BUSINESS

National Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Day, on 18 March, aims to highlight the issues surrounding CSE, encouraging everyone to think, alert, and speak out against abuse. It’s a cause that Bedford Borough Council are fully behind.

 

Cllr Sue Oliver, Executive Member for Children’s Social Care, at Bedford Borough Council said: “There is no greater responsibility than keeping young people safe. We would like to outline that safeguarding is everyone’s business. Together, we can help to make sure those that are vulnerable to abuse are kept safe from harm. We recently supported a production called ‘Chelsea’s Choice’ on this subject, which was very well received by students across the borough. By talking about this topic and sharing information on the signs of abuse, we will most certainly help to reduce the impact of this devastating crime.”

 

DI Iain Morgan, who heads up the CSE Unit for Bedfordshire Police, said: “Child sexual exploitation is a type of child abuse in which children are sexually exploited for money, power or status.

 

“Any child can be sexually exploited – no matter what culture, ethnicity, religion, or gender so it’s incredibly important that we are all aware of the signs of CSE so that we can stop it happening as soon as possible and identify those responsible.”

 

Signs that a young person is being sexually exploited include a change in behaviour, receiving unexplained gifts or money, regularly being missing or absent from school and home, and hanging out with a gang or people of an older age group.

 

In March 2013, a CSE Panel was set up in Bedfordshire in order for agencies to share information about potential or recognised risks, reduce the risk of harm, and ensure young people have access to multi-agency support.

 

Jenny Myers, Independent Chair of Bedford Borough’s Children’s Safeguarding Board, said: “I want people with any concerns to think ‘could this be child sexual exploitation?’. The main message is ‘could this child / my child be at risk?”

 

In line with the national CSE campaign, throughout the day Bedford Borough Council and Bedfordshire Police will be sharing information about CSE through social media. This will take the form of writing a personal pledge on people’s hands and posting it on social media with the hashtag #HelpingHands this will help raise awareness of child sexual exploitation nationwide, with the aim of reaching a network of friends, family and social groups.

 

If you are worried about a child, contact Bedford Borough Council’s Multi Agency Support Hub (MASH) on 01234 718700.

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