PCC Barry Coppinger, Mark Braithwaite and pupils of Ryehills School, Redcar
A new campaign urging people on Teesside to be aware of the tell-tale signs of child sexual exploitation is being launched today (20 May).
‘In the wrong hands’, a thought-provoking campaign outlines what child sexual exploitation is, the signs to look out for and where to find help or report concerns.
Exploitation is a form of abuse which can affect young men and young women and often victims don't recognise what is happening to them.
This type of abuse could happen to any young or vulnerable person from any background.
'In the wrong hands' is being led by the four Local Safeguarding Children Boards, Redcar & Cleveland, Middlesbrough, Stockton and Hartlepool.
Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger, said : “I wholeheartedly support this campaign in bringing to the attention of both young people and all the professionals involved in young people’s lives initial indications to look out for that exploitation is taking place so as it can be addressed at the earliest possible opportunity.
“Such exploitation exists across all social backgrounds and we need to offer those caught up in such abuse our full support and bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Mark Braithwaite, representing the four Independent Chairs of the Local Safeguarding Children Boards, visited Rye Hills School in Redcar today to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation and to launch the scheme which will be rolled out in all secondary schools, youth and community groups in the Tees area.
He added: "Child sexual exploitation is a serious crime that devastates lives.
"Preventing child sexual exploitation is everybody's business, not just social workers or the police, and it is hoped the leaflets and information launched by the four boards today will not only raise the profile of the campaign among professionals but also across communities.
“This campaign aims to provide information as to what to look out for and leaflets and posters have also been delivered to health facilities such as GP surgeries, local authority buildings as well as secondary schools.
“Often the victims are not aware they're being exploited and we hope that this simple but powerful campaign will help people recognise the signs and encourage them to speak up about this issue which is often seen as taboo, and report their concerns.”
Posted on Wednesday 20th May 2015