Plymouth turns the spotlight on Child Sexual Exploitation

The City Council is asking people to pledge to make a difference on National Child Sexual Exploitation Day Wednesday 18 March.

Plymouth’s Safeguarding Children’s Board has joined forces with the Council’s Youth Services team, NSPCC and Barnardos to launch a public pledge for action by asking everyone to consider the warning signs of sexual exploitation and reporting them when they see them.

The teams will be at the Place de Brest on Wednesday 18 March, offering parents and young people the chance to sign the pledge and talk about the issues around Child Sexual Exploitation. Local businesses are also being asked to advise employees on spotting the signs of child sexual exploitation.

Councillor Sue McDonald, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Public Health said: “I believe there is a need for greater public awareness to prevent child sexual exploitation, not just in Plymouth but across the country. Awareness days like this are extremely important as part of our continuous programme to prevent the sexual abuse of children. We are making sure that tackling Child Sexual Exploitation is a priority for Plymouth City Council and everyone working for children and families in the city.”

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is illegal activity by people who have power over young people and use it to sexually abuse them. This can involve a broad range of exploitative activity, from seemingly ‘consensual’ relationships and informal exchanges of sex for attention, accommodation, gifts or cigarettes, through to very serious organised crime. Hidden from view and going unnoticed, vulnerable young girls and boys are groomed and then abused, leaving them traumatised and scarred for life.

Andy Bickley, independent Chair of the Plymouth Safeguarding Children Board, said:, “Tackling child sexual exploitation is a shared priority for organisations working with children and young people in Plymouth and one which brings together skills and expertise from all sectors.

“We are absolutely committed to making sure there is a greater awareness of child sexual exploitation across all professionals in the city and we fully support awareness days like these.”