Hard-hitting lessons to avoid child sexual exploitation

Published January 29, 2015 by JS2

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SEXUAL EXPLOITATION: A poster highlighting the play that young people in Redcar and Cleveland will be watching to learn about the pitfalls of sexual exploitation.

YOUNG people are set to learn a harsh lesson about online sexual exploitation when a new play comes to schools across Redcar and Cleveland.

‘Chelsea’s Choice’ focuses on a young girl who, having fallen out with her friends and family, was approached by a man called Gary who treated her like an adult.

Unfortunately, Gary was not what seemed to be, and as Chelsea’s story progresses three students – along with their teacher – attempt to understand what happened to her and how it could have been prevented.

The production has been created by theatre specialists AlterEgo Creative Solutions and was commissioned by Redcar and Cleveland’s Local Safeguarding Children Board.

Councillor Joan Guy, council cabinet member for children’s services and education, said: “With high profile cases around the country currently making the news on a regular basis, it is the duty of everyone to raise awareness of this subject.

“Councils, charities, support agencies, schools, parents and carers all need to engage with and acknowledge this issue in order to give young people the tools and knowledge that they need to keep themselves and their friends safe.”

As well as being performed in secondary schools across the borough, parents and carers are invited to a free performance of ‘Chelsea’s Choice’ on Thursday, February 26 at 5pm. The event will be held in the council chamber at the Redcar & Cleveland Leisure and Community Heart.

The council says the play has proved effective in promoting safe use of the internet as well as raising awareness of healthy relationships.

Due to the sensitive nature of the subject at the moment, the company has made sure that the play is hard-hitting and relevant to current issues without being graphic or offensive.

The safeguarding board devised the initiative in an attempt to educate young people about the perils of grooming in the wake of child sex abuse scandals in Rochdale and Rotherham, where scores of young girls were sexually assaulted over a long period of time.

Last year, three Middlesbrough men were jailed for grooming five young girls in the town.

Passing sentence Judge John Walford told Shakil Munir, 32, 19-year-old Sakib Ahmed and Ateeq Latif, 17, that they had regarded the girls – all aged between 13 and 15 – as objects for their own sexual pleasure.

Should anyone have any concerns or questions regarding ‘Chelsea’s Choice’ can contact Deanne Taylor, Local Safeguarding Business Manager, on 01642 304520.

The Northern Echo

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