Thursday 18 March is National Child Exploitation Awareness Day
Published: 18 March 2021
Thursday 18 March is National Child Exploitation Awareness Day, highlighting the issues surrounding Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE). The day aims to encourage everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse, and be alert to the issues.
CSE is a form of child abuse that involves children and young people being targeted and abused by adults or peers for sexual purposes. Both victims and perpetrators can be male or female, and any child can be at risk of exploitation.
There are many forms of exploitation including criminal and sexual harm, but there are often difficulties securing a conviction for CSE as many victims do not understand that they are being abused, leading to it being an under reported crime.
During covid-19 restrictions, children are spending more time at home and so it can be more difficult than usual to spot the signs. STOP CSE have issued guidance on what to look out for.
- Missing from home or education. Not knowing where or who they are with.
- Discovering they have been going to new places with no obvious connections.
- Spending more time online and have distanced themselves from family, friends and usual activities.
- Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, marks and a reluctance to seek medical attention.
- Increase in alcohol, drug use, self-harm.
- Unexplained items such as new clothing, money, phones or drugs.
- Sudden changes in who they are spending time with.
- Unusually secretive, fearful, withdrawn or aggressive behaviour.
- Changes in clothing personal hygiene and vocabulary.
Derby City Council has a number of partners providing guidance and support to victims of CSE including Derbyshire CARES, a local service jointly commissioned by Derby City Council, Derbyshire County Council and the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner. The service works directly with children and young people who are at risk.
The council website has further information on safeguarding and spotting the signs, as well as contact details for local and national support services.