Residents of Doncaster are being asked to speak out against Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) as part of a multi-agency project leading up to the national awareness day on Saturday, 18 March.
Doncaster Children’s Services Trust CSE champions are to join colleagues from the South Yorkshire Police, public health and children’s charity Barnardo’s to raise awareness of the crime and to encourage members of the public to do their part in helping to stamp it out.
This will include residents being asked to make a personal pledge on how they can help raise awareness of CSE by using the #HelpingHands on social media.
Children and teenagers are to learn about internet and personal safety as part of a series of assemblies being delivered to six secondary and four primary schools in the borough by the Trust CSE team, which will include videos and worksheets. And, in liaison with the local Education authority, all schools are being encouraged to include the Speak Out Against CSE message on all emails sent out during the week.
The week of activity, which will also see the multi-agency team touring the town’s shopping areas, is part of ongoing work by the Trust, Local Safeguarding Children’s Board, council police and public health to prevent and tackle CSE. During the past 12 months, the Trust team have reached 2,800 children and young people with their training programme.
And the multi-agency team have trained thousands of people, including taxi drivers, night time economy workers, teachers, parents and young people to spot the signs of CSE.
For the third year running the Trust’s CSE champions have also been shortlisted this month for the national Unsung Hero award for their exemplary work in raising awareness of CSE within the community.
Commenting on the schools programme, Balby Carr Headteacher Tom Ashley said: “The Child Sexual Exploitation Team attending school, delivering assemblies is vital in spreading the message of the risks, signs and symptoms of CSE and raising awareness amongst students and the wider community.
“Previous workshops, theatre performances and assemblies have been well received by our students and have allowed them to gain further awareness and confidence to report any worries or concerns they have.
“Education is a powerful tool in ensuring students’ safety and knowledge around such an important issue.”
Chief Executive of Doncaster Children’s Services Trust Paul Moffatt said: “CSE is an absolutely abhorrent crime and everyone at the Trust and our partners from across Doncaster are determined to help stamp it out from our community.
“We have extremely robust processes at the Trust for both identifying and dealing with CSE and we are also equipped to act swiftly wherever we detect cases. This includes working with our partners to help identify and prosecute the perpetrators. We also offer support to victims through our specially trained social workers.
“We recognise that education is key to helping children and young people stay safe and our rolling schools programme is pivotal to that. While children and young people may be very tech savvy, we want to ensure that they are aware of and take action to prevent the risks associated with it.
“Events like the national awareness day are vitally important in helping people of whatever age, to spot the signs of CSE and to know how to report it.”
Christina Harrison, of RDaSH (Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust), said: “It’s fantastic that Jayne, Wendy and Carmel are shortlisted in the Unsung Hero award. It’s a real credit to them and highlights the hard work they do helping to raise the profile of CSE and making people aware of the signs and symptoms to look out for and the action they can take.”
The sorts of behaviour which may point to young people being caught up in sexual exploitation include:
regularly going missing from home
receiving gifts from unknown sources
being withdrawn from their families
If you have any concerns, please contact Doncaster Children’s Services Trust CSE champions by calling 01302 737200. Always call 999 in an emergency.
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