National Child Exploitation Awareness Day
Saturday 18th March marked National Child Exploitation Awareness Day: https://stop-ce.org/national-child-exploitation-awareness-day/
Child Exploitation is when a child is used by an individual or group of people, usually for their financial gain or gratification. In Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) the child will be used to have sex or perform sexual acts, usually with one or more adults. In Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) children may be used to sell or deliver drugs. They may also be made to store drugs, weapons or money.
Exploitation is non-discriminatory – children of all ages, backgrounds and cultures are targeted. Often, children are drawn in to exploitation by friends who are already being exploited themselves. They can also be groomed via online gaming platforms or social media. A child may not realise they are being exploited; they might think they are in a loving relationship with the abuser, or that they are doing favours for a friend.
This is happening in our community. It’s happening in Thornhill, Thornhill Lees, Savile Town and beyond. It’s happening to students who attend TCA.
Our Designated Safeguarding Lead has been working closely with colleagues from the police, social care and other organisations over the past few months to try and reduce the risk to our students. Last week we raised awareness of exploitation through assemblies. Students learned about the grooming process and how to keep themselves safe. Before February half-term we ran a parent information session and were delighted to have guest presenters from Kirklees Youth Engagement Service, PACE (Parents Against Child Exploitation) and The Base (drug and alcohol service for young people in Kirklees). We also had colleagues from the Detached Youth Work Team who work directly with children in the local area.
Jess Avis from PACE gave an overview of the support that they offer to parents of children who are being exploited. More information on PACE can be found here: https://paceuk.info/
Salma Yusoof from the Youth Exploitation Service explained the different types of exploitation and spoke about the vulnerabilities that may lead a child to become a victim. She gave parents guidance on the signs to look out for; things like their child having unaccounted for money, new clothes or an extra mobile phone.
Marvin Gaye spoke about the activities that the Detached Youth Work Team do in our neighbourhood to engage children and young people. You might see Marvin and his colleagues in local parks and open spaces during evenings and weekends.
Sophie Garforth and Preeti Nayan from The Base shared information on substance misuse and alcohol. More information on The Base can be found here: https://www.changegrowlive.org/the-base-kirklees/info
For further information on exploitation, including signs that parents and carers can look out for, please see:
If you feel that your child may be at risk of exploitation, or have concerns about things that you’ve seen or heard, please contact our Designated Safeguarding Lead at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01924 324890.