Police support National Child Exploitation Awareness Day
Say Something, If You See Something Suspicious is the key message of National Child Exploitation (CEA) Awareness Day which takes places on Wednesday 18 March.
The campaign aims to highlight the issues surrounding CEA and encourage everyone, from members of the public to professionals, to look out for the signs of exploitation, speak out and adopt a zero tolerance approach.
Child exploitation, is abuse (including sexual abuse) that involves children under the age of 18 being coerced or manipulated into criminal activity with adults or older children. It happens both in the real world and online.
Offenders target vulnerable children and use emotional, financial or physical power over the child to abuse them. Violence and intimidation are often part of the picture. For example, children can be given gifts, money, alcohol or drugs in exchange for sexual activity with the abuser, or made to take part in criminal activity.
In an initiative to raise awareness of CEA and human trafficking, Suffolk Police and the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board will be working with hotel staff in the county to encourage greater understanding of the complex issues involved. Staff working in hotels may witness relevant suspicious behaviour on their premises and are being encouraged to look for the signs of abuse and criminal activity. The aim is to make Suffolk a hostile environment for those that want to abuse children, asking staff to ‘think, spot and speak out’ and report any concerns to the police.
NWG (formerly The National Working Group for Sexually Exploited Children and Young People), a charitable organisation formed as a UK network of over 10,000 practitioners, is behind the Awareness Day. They are committed to the fight against CEA and support victims and their families who are have been subjected to child exploitation.
Suffolk Constabulary is supporting this day of awareness raising and is taking to social media to bring home the message using the hashtags #HelpingHands and #CEADay20.
Detective Superintendent David Giles of Suffolk Constabulary said,
"Suffolk Police treats the abuse and exploitation of children as a priority every day of the year and whole heartedly support this campaign to raise awareness of the issues involved. We take every allegation seriously regardless of when it occurred. We have skilled and dedicated staff who work with a wide range of other professionals across the public and voluntary sector to ensure we can, together, provide the very highest possible level of service to victims of these offences.”
"It is really important for all of us to know what the possible signs are that a child is being abused or exploited. Do have a look at our website www.suffolk.police.uk/advice for some easy to access guides that assist with what to look for. Unless we recognise the signs it is really hard to put in the right interventions and the right support. This responsibility is on the police, on other professionals, on teachers and on parents; it is a responsibility on all of us to protect children and young people across the county.”
Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, said; "Protecting young victims of exploitation has got to be an absolute priority for us all so I wholly endorse this campaign.
"It is imperative that we work together with other child support agencies to support and protect victims. It is beyond my comprehension that vulnerable young people can be subjected to such horrific abuse. It is so malicious and can have a devastating and lasting impact on young lives.
"The Constabulary has some useful pointers of what to look out for to identify exploitation and I would encourage people to take a look. I am totally committed to zero tolerance to child exploitation, and would ask anyone who has any suspicion to please speak up.”
Important: If you think a child is in immediate danger; contact us straight away by calling 999.
Warning signs to look out for:
- Staying out late or periods of going missing overnight or longer
- Older ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ or relationship with a controlling adult
- Physical injury without plausible explanation
- Entering or leaving vehicles driven by unknown adults
- Unexplained amounts of money, expensive clothing or other items
- Sudden change in who they are friends with
- Lack of engagement with education
- Drugs or alcohol misuse or self-harm
- Unusual or increased use of mobile phone and/or the internet that causes concern
Help and support
Whether you are an adult concerned about the welfare of a child you know, or if you are a child who is upset about something that is happening to you, there is help and support available.
Parents can visit http://www.suffolk.police.uk/advice/child-protection/child-sexual-exploitation for further information and links to support and advice services, including videos etc
Parents can visit the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre's (CEOP) 'Thinkuknow' website at: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/ for more information.
Childnet is an organisation working to make the internet a safe place for children and has useful information for parents and schools http://www.childnet.com/
If you are concerned about someone’s behaviour towards your child, you can report this directly to CEOP via www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre.
If you are a child or young person worried or upset talk to an adult you know well and trust.
If you don't have anyone you can talk to, you can call ChildLine for free. You can talk about any problem and there will always be someone there to help you.
0800 1111 www.childline.org.uk
Suffolk’s Children Services
Tel: 0808 800 4005.
Customer First is a specialist call centre with trained staff who know about the services that are available to offer and who can help.
Other helplines include:
NWG Network -
If you’re not sure who the best organisation is to contact then call NWG on 01332 585371 and they will put you in touch with the right people to help you.
For more information on the awareness day visit: https://www.nwgnetwork.org/events/national-child-exploitation-awareness-day-2020/#
Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation (Pace) helpline 0113 240 3040. http://paceuk.info/