Child protection procedures must be followed if anyone suspects that a young person is a victim or is at risk of becoming a victim of child sexual exploitation. It’s important that agencies work together and share information to deal with child sexual exploitation.
Information and resources for people who work with young people or have a duty of care towards a child. If you work with or come into contact with young people, it is your responsibility to make sure that you:
Child sexual exploitation is not a new phenomenon, nor is it confined to Cheshire. However, it is has entered the public consciousness in recent years, due to some very high profile cases within the North West and other parts of the country. It is a form of child abuse – affecting boys and girls under the age of 18 – where the vulnerable young victim is given something (e.g. food, money or drugs) in return for sexual activity with the abuser or others. It is an insidious crime that can be hard to detect and there is clear evidence that child sexual exploitation is currently under-reported.
Involvement in exploitative relationships is characterised by the child or young person’s limited availability of choice as a result of their social, economic or emotional vulnerability. Often the young person does not even recognise the coercive nature of the relationship and does not see themselves as a victim of exploitation. This means they are unlikely to report the abuse.
Make sure you know who your child protection champion in your area is. Be aware of the procedure to follow if you have concerns about a young person.
You are not alone, there are specially trained professionals that help support you and your family.