AS part of the ongoing Gloucestershire Take a Stand campaign, on Monday, December 8 Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Board will be raising awareness of the signs of Child Sexual Exploitation and what people should do if they suspect it is happening.
As part of the campaign, partners on the safeguarding board including Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucestershire Police and Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Foundation Trust will tweet advice and information on spotting the signs of child sexual exploitation and the information and services available to support those affected.
Tweets to parents will help them ‘spot the signs’, whilst messages for younger people will be about protecting themselves and their friends from sexual exploitation.
Young people and children are being asked to look out for friends getting new clothes, jewellery, cash and not sharing where they are getting it from or peers who are behaving differently and hanging out with new, often older people.
Parents are also being urged to look out for signs of child sexual exploitation such as their child experiencing sudden mood swings, missing school and starting to display inappropriate sexual behaviour.
Everyone has a role to play to help stop child sexual exploitation in the community.
The board is encouraging people to speak up if they see something by calling 999 if a child is in immediate danger or by calling Gloucestershire County Council’s Children’s Helpdesk on 01452 426565 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 if they suspect a child may be at risk.
David McCallum, chairman of Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Board said: “Working together we aim to raise awareness of the serious issue of child sexual exploitation.
“We all want to protect children from harm, and we can help children by being aware of the signs and equipping children themselves with information on what to look out for and what to do if they suspect exploitation is taking place.
“It has to be said that although such incidents are relatively uncommon, they do happen here in Gloucestershire so must be taken seriously.
Vicky Taylor is an ambassador for Vulnerable Children and Young People at Gloucestershire County Council representing the views of young people and is keen to make sure all young people can spot the signs of child sexual exploitation.
“Sexual exploitation and abuse is one of the most vicious crimes conceivable. It is easier to pretend it is not there than to acknowledge the horrors someone can bury inside them and hide from others. We want to make people aware that: it is out there, it is real, actions need to be taken,” said Vicky.