Members of the Safer Harrogate District Community Safety Group will be holding a series of events this Friday (18 March) aimed at local businesses, parents and young people themselves as part of National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day.
Staff from the Local Community Delivery Group, Harrogate Borough Council, North Yorkshire Police, the Prevention Team, North Yorkshire County Council Children’s Social Services team and local councillors will meet at 10.00am at the Piazza behind the Victoria Shopping Centre in Harrogate to highlight the issue by writing a personal message on their hands, and posting a picture of it on their personal social media sites with the hashtag #Helpinghands.
The partnership will then be delivering posters and information to businesses in the town, to highlight the ‘Say Something if you See Something’ campaign, which provides training to businesses and advice on what they can do if they suspect young people are at risk of being exploited.
In the afternoon North Yorkshire Police and staff from the Prevention Team will be visiting areas in Harrogate where young people go to meet up, to hand out information and advice on how to keep safe.
The Safer Harrogate District Community Safety Group is continually working to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation in the district, organising training for businesses and the public and linking with schools and parents to get the message across. A free parents’ guide on the issue is available on the Group’s website at www.saferharrogate.org.uk
The Group has recently run its first free ‘Say Something if you See Something’ training session for local businesses, with around 50 members of staff from the Holiday Inn in Harrogate finding out how to spot warning signs and what to do if they think a young person may be at risk.
Councillor Mike Chambers, Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Safer Communities, said:
Everyone has a role to play in raising awareness of child sexual exploitation.
Any child could be at risk of being exploited, no matter what their culture or ethnicity, or whether they are a boy or a girl.
National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day gives us all an opportunity to learn how to ‘Say something if you see something’ and I hope that business will get involved and take advantage of the free training for their staff, and that parents will use this day as a way of finding out more about how to protect their children.
More information and a link to a short film by West Yorkshire Police about the signs to look out for and what to do if you see them are at www.saferharrogate.org.uk