Agencies unite to prevent child exploitation

Published Wednesday 18 March 2015

Councils, police, the NHS and safeguarding boards across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are joining forces to back the first ever national child sexual exploitation awareness day.

Top officers including the chief constable, council directors and safeguarding board chairs are supporting the 18 March event by making pledges underlining their commitment to tackling the issue. 

Designed to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation, the pledges can be seen on social media.

Harborough District Council has pledged its support to the campaign.

CSE awareness day has been organised by charity NWG and is building momentum by using the hashtag #HelpingHands. 

Paul Burnett, independent chair of Leicestershire and Rutland Local Safeguarding Children Board, said: “Put simply, the exploitation of children is an appalling crime which we will not tolerate.  Rather than seeing CSE as taboo, we want people to think, spot and speak out and are united in supporting the NWG’s campaign. Our own ‘spot the signs’ drive is helping people to recognise CSE and report concerns and I hope that the awareness day increases awareness further.”

Dr David Jones, independent chair of Leicester Local Safeguarding Children Board, said: “The reality of child sexual exploitation holds up a mirror to our contemporary approach to relationships. It is never right to bully, frighten or intimidate people and respect for each other is at the heart of our message.  Whether you are out or surfing the net, don’t just walk by - spot the signs and make a difference.” 

Two years ago, the safeguarding boards launched a hard-hitting campaign to raise awareness of the tell-tale signs of CSE, and where to report concerns. The wide-ranging drive – called ‘spot the signs’ - included a theatre tour which was seen by over 8,700 pupils. Feedback showed that 99 per cent felt it gave them a better understanding. 

Last year, a second phase was launched targeting licensed premises including hotels, pubs and taxi drivers. A third phase is due to launch this spring. 

Materials for young people, parents and carers and businesses are available at: