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Do you know the signs of child sexual exploitation? Do you feel comfortable talking to your child about what is and isn’t appropriate in a relationship? Would you know if a friend was being sexually exploited?

A campaign about raising awareness of child sexual exploitation (CSE) launched today. Tell Someone encourages people to recognise the signs of child sexual exploitation and tell someone if they have concerns.

The campaign places a great emphasis on an educational and preventative approach, aiming to dispel myths and raise awareness that ‘sexual exploitation can happen to any child, anywhere’ and provides details of how and where to get help.

The campaign is supported by West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion and partners including Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Worcestershire local Safeguarding Children’s Boards.

John Campion, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia, said: “Child sexual exploitation is a horrific crime that can happen anywhere. It’s so important that we all work together to address it and don’t bury our heads in the sand in the hope it will go away. I want to give victims the confidence to come forward and talk to someone, knowing there is support available to them. I also want to encourage people to learn more about the signs of CSE so we can stop it quicker.

“CSE remains a priority for myself and the police. As Commissioner, I promised to make sure that the progress we have made is maintained and accelerated. I will continue to improve the support we offer to children. I will continue to make sure the police are prioritising this issue and working effectively to tackle it and I will continue to work with partners to ensure safeguarding and community partners are all working together towards common goals.”

Detective Superintendent Alison Davies from West Mercia Police said: “Child sexual exploitation affects more people than many of us realise and it’s important that people understand this type of abuse can happen to any child anywhere.

“Young people may not realise that what is happening to them is exploitation, or they may not feel able to seek help if they are being pressured into activities they are uncomfortable with. Parents and carers may have lots of questions and concerns about how to protect their children. Businesses may have concerns about their responsibilities to help protect children from child sexual exploitation.

“‘Tell Someone’ encourages people to identify the signs of CSE and gives guidance on how to get help. West Mercia Police has specially trained officers to deal with this type of abuse and we work closely with our partner agencies across the region to provide support and help for people suffering.”

Issued on: Monday 13 March