Melton Borough Council

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Could you spot the signs?

Published Monday, 30th September 2013

New guidance is set to help young people and parents across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland spot the signs of child sexual exploitation.

From today (Monday), 100,000 leaflets are being sent out as part of a new thought-provoking campaign called 'could you spot the signs?' launched by the two local safeguarding children boards.

The advice outlines what child sexual exploitation is, the tell tale signs to look out for and where to find help or report concerns. Exploitation is a form of abuse which can affect young men and young women and often victims don't recognise what is happening to them.

Although child sexual exploitation is unusual, it's thought that there is under-reporting across the country.
The drive - which is supported by local agencies including Leicestershire Police, Leicestershire County Council, Leicester City Council, Rutland County Council, the NHS and district and borough councils - is designed to raise awareness and encourage people to talk about the issue which is often seen as taboo, and report concerns.

Paul Burnett, independent chair of the Leicestershire and Rutland Local Safeguarding Children Board, said: "We want to reassure parents that although child sexual exploitation is rare, it's an issue we take extremely seriously.

"National research suggests under-reporting is an issue across the UK and we're keen to raise awareness by starting a conversation. Often the victims are not aware they're being exploited and we hope that this simple but powerful campaign will help people recognise the tell tale signs and encourage them to speak up if they have concerns." David Jones, independent chair of the Leicester Safeguarding Children Board, said: "Child sexual exploitation, although rare, can devastate lives, so the safeguarding boards in Leicester City and Leicestershire and Rutland take this seriously.

"Preventing child sexual exploitation is everybody’s business, not just the police or social workers, and it is hoped the leaflets and information launched by both boards today will raise the profile across all communities."

The campaign includes sending flyers to taxi companies, B and Bs, pubs and other sections of the leisure industry.

Running until next Easter, it will also involve a theatre group visiting schools in the new year, online web chats and community engagement. It includes a series of seminars starting on 1st October which are being run by Leicestershire Police to help parents spot the signs of online sexual exploitation and protect their children.
The local safeguarding children boards are independent bodies who ensure that agencies are working together effectively to protect children.

Over the last 12 months, the two boards have: 

  • trained over 500 teachers, social workers, police officers and other practitioners to help them spot the signs and know what to do if they suspect abuse
  • created a new child sexual exploitation action plan which councils, police, health and other agencies have signed up
From this week, the guidance for children is being sent out to schools. Copies of the leaflet for parents will be available from libraries, children's centres and local agencies.
Copies are available online at: www.lrlscb.org/leaflets