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Spot the signs
Friday 21st February, 2014

Young people, parents and carers across Wigan Borough are being offered a free course to help them spot the signs of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE).

CSE is an issue which Wigan Council and its partners take extremely seriously and the awareness raising course is just one of the many initiatives being launched as part of Wigan Safeguarding Children Board’s (WSCB) ‘The more you know the more you see’ campaign.

The campaign, being launched by the board at its CSE conference on Thursday 27 February, aims to raise awareness of CSE among children, young people, parents and carers, and those who may come into contact with victims of CSE. Wigan Council’s Chief Executive Donna Hall will open the conference, and speakers include key professionals involved in tackling CSE including Tony Lloyd, Greater Manchester Police & Crime Commissioner.

Child sexual exploitation is an illegal activity by people who have power over children and young people and use it to abuse them. The manipulation or ‘grooming’ process involves befriending them, gaining their trust, and often supplying them with drugs and alcohol, sometimes over a long period of time, before the abuse begins.

In recent years, the number of children affected by child sexual exploitation has risen due to things like the increased accessibility and availability of the internet and mobile phones. Barnardo’s report that in the period between 2010/11 and 2011/12 the number of sexually exploited children nationally increased by 22 per cent.

A survey commissioned by Parents against child sexual exploitation (Pace) and the Safeguarding Children e-Academy, found that parents lacked knowledge and confidence about the subject, with 42 per cent of those asked admitting that they were not aware of the issues associated with CSE and 40 per cent saying they weren’t confident they’d be able to tell the difference between indicators of CSE and challenging teenage behaviour.

Kath Nelson, Chair of Wigan Safeguarding Children Board, said:

“Many parents will have heard about CSE, but not all will know how to spot the signs or how to prevent it. That’s why we’re launching the campaign – the more you know the more you see. It’s about opening people’s eyes to the signs and educating them about what to say or do in that situation.

“As a parent, keeping up with the latest social media sites, or keeping tabs on your teenage child can be difficult, but this course, among the other initiatives we’ll be launching this year, will give them the confidence to parent during the digital age.”

To access the free online course for parents and carers visit: www.safeguardingchildrenea.co.uk/resources/keep-them-safe/

For information on the WSCB training for young people: “Keep yourself safe” please contact wscbtraining@wigan.gov.uk

If you’re concerned about a child’s safety call 0161 8725050 or visit www.wiganlscb.com

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