Torbay Council is supporting National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day on 18 March 2018
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is a form of sexual abuse that involves the manipulation or coercion of young people into sexual activity and there have been many harrowing stories where children have been targeted and groomed online.

Torbay Council’s Executive Lead for Adults and Children, Councillor Julien Parrott said: “We are committed to protecting children from harm. We have all seen how child sexual exploitation can damage lives and we are working with our partners to provide the best possible response. We work closely together and want the community to feel confident that they can share concerns and we want children and young people to know that we will listen.

“Parents, carers, relatives, friends, neighbours, members of the public and professionals all have a role to play. We’re supporting the national campaign on 18 March which aims to raise awareness and we encourage people to report any concerns.”

Alongside partners across the South West Peninsula, Torbay Council is promoting awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation and encouraging everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse.

The Awareness Day aims to highlight this form of abuse and encourage everyone to adopt a zero tolerance to adults developing inappropriate relationships with children or children developing inappropriate relationships with other children.

In Torbay, awareness is being raised in schools. A locally school based CSE worker for the Children’s Society has written a 10 minute tutor session and an assembly. This has been sent out to all secondary schools in the Bay along with posters and links to resources for them to use.

Ian Ansell, Independent Chair of Torbay Safeguarding Children Board said: “It is a sad fact that there are those in our society who seek to exploit and harm young people and children. The use of social media is an important part of children’s lives and we must ensure that they are safe whilst online. Everyone has a role to play in reporting any behaviour or activity on line that they feel is suspicious.

“This campaign aims to help educate parents and carers to feel better equipped around online use. It will also enable young people and children to spot signs of grooming and to know where to go for help and support.”

The partners are taking part in a national social media campaign and encouraging people from their organisations and beyond to support the Thunderclap on 18 March and write a personal pledge on their hands to show support for the Helping Hands campaign. Post your photo on social media with the hashtag #HelpingHands and #CSEDay18 to help raise awareness of CSE.

If you are worried about a child contact the Torbay Safeguarding Children Board.

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