Children and young people in Cumbria are being urged to take steps to help protect themselves against child sexual exploitation (CSE).
A conference is taking place today to raise awareness of CSE among professionals working with children.
Children and young people are being urged to report any concerns they may have to the police or someone they trust, if they think there is a chance themselves or a friend is being exploited.
For example, this could be a young person having sex in return for attention, gifts, alcohol or cigarettes.
Although the young person may not realise it at the time, sexual exploitation can cause a lot of damage to their physical, emotional and psychological health.
Young people are also being warned of the dangers of ‘sexting’ as images can end up anywhere.
“CSE is often seen as being an inner city issue unfortunately sadly we know this is not the case and this is recognised by Sue Berelowitz the Deputy Children’s Commissioner for England who quoted that 'CSE is prevalent in every area of England, and is not restricted to just low income, inner city neighbourhoods, but in every type of neighbourhood, rural, urban, deprived and not deprived'.
“In short all agencies, professionals, carers and communities have a responsibility to work together to ensure that children and young people in Cumbria are protected from being sexually exploited.”