Would you know what to do if you discovered a child or young person was being sexually exploited?
Perhaps you found out they were being manipulated into sexual activity with offers of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and other presents? Perhaps the young person felt they ought to have sex because an adult gave them something or because they felt threatened or frightened? Maybe they want to have sex because they think the person is their boyfriend or girlfriend?
The sad truth is any child anywhere can be sexually exploited regardless of culture, ethnicity, religion or gender. It’s everyone’s business to raise awareness of this and make sure everything possible is done to stop it.
Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day was on March 18, and we want to get the message across that people should ‘say something if you see something’.
Some of the signs to look out for in young people could be staying out overnight, being missing from home or skipping school, losing contact with family and friends, having low self-esteem and being secretive about where they’re going.
Young people shouldn’t feel as if they have done anything wrong and people shouldn’t be afraid to speak about this.
We are determined to stop this happening, but we need everyone’s support to do this.
More information can be found on the West Sussex Safeguarding Children’s Board website www.westsussexscb.org.uk
West Sussex County Council cabinet member
for children – start of life
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