PCC supports campaign to highlight child sexual exploitation

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore is supporting a national campaign to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation (CSE). Support for the campaign has been pledged by Suffolk Constabulary, Suffolk County Council,  and other local Suffolk Local Safeguarding Children Board  partners including Ipswich Town Football Club.

The National CSE Awareness Day being held today on Wednesday 18th March, is being led by charity National Working Group (NWG) and aims to highlight the issues surrounding CSE; encouraging everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse. A two day conference will begin on Wednesday in Nottingham. National Policing Lead for Child Protection, Chief Constable of Norfolk Simon Bailey will be speaking alongside the CEO of NWG, Sheila Taylor MBE.

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.

Tim Passmore said: “It is hugely important that we make a stand to draw attention to this dreadful crime. It is beyond my comprehension that young children can be treated in this way and I will do all I can to support the Constabulary in their fight against this horrendous crime
“My pledge for the campaign is to ‘work with others’. Working with our partners in safeguarding and public protection is key to providing the best support possible to anyone affected by child sexual exploitation. No one agency can do this on their own, we need to work together to provide the most effective response to those people most in need.”

Suffolk Constabulary will be raising awareness of the campaign and its commitment to tackling CSE by posting on social media throughout the day, focussing on police officers and staff who each have a part to play in fighting CSE.
Along with partners in the LSCB and the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), the Constabulary is working to promote understanding and awareness amongst practitioners, professionals and communities in an effort to end this kind of abuse. ITFC Manager Mick McCarthy has also pledged his support of the campaign.

Within the Constabulary, new training materials have been published to officers and staff, urging them to ‘make CSE stand out’ by equipping them with the knowledge they need to spot the signs of exploitation.
Partners within the LSCB are hosting an event in the Atrium at Endeavour House in Ipswich on Wednesday where promotional literature will be available. Each organisation will also be supporting NWG’s #helpinghands Twitter campaign throughout the day. The Twitter campaign involves practitioners and members tweeting a photograph of their own personal pledge or ‘promise’ to victims of CSE written on their hands.

Detective Superintendent Dave Cutler, Head of Protecting Vulnerable People said: “CSE is an abhorrent form of abuse that often goes unnoticed. We need to ensure that those in support positions are able to spot the signs of this kind of abuse and crucially, that they can provide the most appropriate forms of help and support.
“We have worked with our partners to enhance the materials available to our professionals so that our response to and recognition of CSE is improved. The national campaign allows us to continue this awareness raising amongst members of the public who can join us in taking a stand against this kind of abuse by reporting it at the earliest opportunity.”

Councillor Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, said: “All forms of sexual abuse are completely unacceptable; especially when aimed at children and young people. This form of exploitation is manipulative and carried out discreetly making it difficult for the authorities to spot.

“Through the close partnership working of Suffolk’s Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB), authorities such as Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Police aim to tighten up processes and liaise closer to ensure any signs of abuse can be spotted early, allowing us to provide the most appropriate support.

“I strongly urge all to get involved with the campaign and help raise awareness around these most threatening and detestable acts.”

LSCB Independent Chair, Sue Hadley said: “Local Safeguarding Children Boards have a statutory role to play in ensuring that all agencies work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

“Driving our Strategy to combat Child Sexual Exploitation in Suffolk is a key priority for the LSCB and all our partners are committed to ensuring that we work together to learn the lessons from recent Serious Case Reviews and strengthen understanding in order to ensure that children at risk of being sexually exploited can be assured of support and protection.”

Mick McCarthy said: “”At Ipswich Town Football Club, we are committed to working within the community and we fully support this campaign. As adults, we all have a responsibility to look out for and protect the vulnerable, to speak out against any abuse of children.”