Cumbria Police Highlight CSE
18 March 2019, 06:00
A facebook Q&A session will take place tonight
Cumbria Constabulary and partners are uniting with people from across the country to highlight the issues surrounding Child Sexual Exploitation as part of today's (18th March) Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Awareness Day.
CSE is a form of sexual abuse that involves the manipulation and / or coercion of young people under the age of 18 into sexual activity. It can take many forms, for example it could be a young person having sex in return for attention, gifts, alcohol or cigarettes or the sharing of sexting images.
The National CSE Awareness Day aims to encourage everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse before a situation escalates any further.
Police and partners are also taking the opportunity to raise awareness of Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE), where children are forced into criminality as well as sexual activity, examples include county lines, forced shoplifting and sexual exploitation for gain.
Tonight, a panel of CSE experts, from police and partner agencies, will be holding a Facebook Q&A at 8-10pm (on the Constabulary's Facebook page wall). The panel includes, Detective Inspector Dan StQuintin, lead for CSE at Cumbria Constabulary, Holly Murphy, representing the Local Children's Safeguarding Board (LCSB), Ellen Buckley, a Barnardo's Senior Practitioner for CSE and missing from home and Peter McCall, Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner.
The public can also message the Constabulary's Facebook account with their questions if they wished to remain anonymous. Questions could cover anything from an individual who feels they are at risk of offending, to a young person who is concerned about a friend, or a parent who wants to be able to spot the signs of CSE or CCE.
They Panel will also hold a YouTube Live event at 9pm. Both events will be providing information, awareness and answers to any questions people may have on CSE topics.
Detective Chief Inspector Dan StQuintin said:
"It's not the situation we want, but we have to be aware that this type of incredibly harmful exploitation is happening in Cumbria now. Children are being exploited for criminality as well as sexual activity and it can and does happen anywhere. There is no typical area where children are most at risk of exploitation, it could happen in homes, at schools, on the streets, and it can happen online or in daily life. It affects children of all ages including teenagers, and everyone has a part to play to stop it.
"It is important that adults know how to spot the signs of abuse; children and teenagers might not know that what is happening to them is wrong, or feel able to express what is happening to them.
"Taking part in events like CSE Awareness Day are incredibly important as they offer us an opportunity to again start conversations with the public around prevention, support and reporting.
"I hope lots of people can join us Monday night, sending us questions on Facebook or interacting with us Live on YouTube. I also hope those who don't feel able to identify themselves will send us questions to our Facebook account - they could do that now for Monday night if they wanted.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to appeal to anyone who feels they might be a victim of a Child Exploitation offences to contact us so we can investigate. It is never too late to report abuse and every single report is treated professionally and sensitively and victims will be supported by specially trained officers."
Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall said:
"We must do whatever we can to help raise awareness of CSE in the county, and I believe that through campaigns such as this we can help protect the children that may become potential victims.
A spokesperson for the LCSB said:
"Cumbria LSCB has worked relentlessly to continue to raise awareness of the risk of CSE, and ensure that those professionals working with children and young people at risk of, or victims of, this type of crime are protected and supported.
"We have a number of key working streams to make sure that prevention and protection remain high on the agendas of our workforce as well as raising awareness with young people and their families."
Anyone with information can contact Cumbria Police on 101.