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People across the Harrogate district are being asked to give their support to a campaign to raise awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation.
Saturday 18 March 2017 is National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day and the public are being asked to show their support by making a personal pledge, writing it on their hands and posting it on social media using the hashtag #helpinghands.
The campaign aims to highlight the issues surrounding CSE and encourage people to be aware of what CSE is, to help them spot the signs, and to adopt a zero tolerance to inappropriate relationships between older and younger people, urging them to ‘say something if you see something’.
Child Sexual Exploitation is the sexual exploitation of children and young people under 18. It involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people receive something – such as food, accommodation, drugs, affections, gifts or money – in return for sexual activities.
To promote the campaign, Simon Aston from the Harrogate District Community Safety Hub and Nicki Dobson, the local Parent Liaison Officer with Parents Against Child Exploitation (Pace) will be handing out leaflets on Cambridge Street in Harrogate between 2pm and 3pm on Wednesday 15 March. Pace works with parents and carers of children who are at risk of being sexually exploited by perpetrators outside of the family.
The Community Safety Hub has produced a ‘Parent’s guide to CSE’. The guide details how parents can spot the signs of CSE and gives information on what to do if they suspect their children are being manipulated or exploited. The guide is available at www.saferharrogate.org.uk; select ‘CSE Parents Guide’.
Staff from the Hub have also been running a series of awareness sessions for Harrogate Borough Council staff, as part of the council’s commitment to safeguarding children from exploitation and abuse. The sessions show what the effect on children and their families can be, following the exploitation of the young person.
Councillor Mike Chambers is Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Safer Communities: Everyone can get involved with the campaign by pledging their support to stopping the exploitation of children.
Whilst incidents of CSE often make the headlines in the media, most incidents still go unreported – and they are happening every day.
Children are at risk of being exploited no matter what their culture or background, and irrespective of whether they are a boy or a girl.
Everyone can get involved in the campaign by pledging their support to STOP CSE.
Pace offers confidential help and advice and can be contacted on 0113 240 5226. You can find out more at www.paceuk.info
For more about the national Child Sexual Awareness Day campaign, go to www.stop-cse.org