Herefordshire Safeguarding Children Board and Herefordshire Council are joining the fight against child sexual exploitation (CSE) by participating in National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day on 18 March and are asking Herefordshire residents to do the same.
The awareness day, organised by national charity NWG Network, aims to highlight the issues surrounding CSE; encouraging everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse and adopt a zero tolerance to adults developing inappropriate relationships with children or children developing inappropriate relationships with other children.
Child sexual exploitation is a form of sexual abuse that involves the manipulation and/or coercion of young people under the age of 18 into sexual activity.
As part of the awareness day on 18 March, people are being encouraged to write a personal pledge on their hands to show support for the Helping Hands campaign, and then to post a photo of the pledge on social media using the hashtag #HelpingHands to help raise awareness of CSE.
Dave McCallum, independent chair of the Safeguarding Children’s Board, said “Child Sexual Exploitation can happen to boys or girls, from all walks of life, anywhere from in our cities and towns to rural villages. It’s vital that we raise awareness and help people feel confident to speak out and report any situation that they feel is inappropriate.”
Anyone who needs to report a concern can contact the MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) on 01432 260800 or the Police on 0300 333 3000 (free call) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.