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Police back #HelpingHands campaign to tackle child sexual exploitation

Northumbria Police is backing a national campaign to tackle child sexual exploitation. Photo: Northumbria Police

Northumbria Police is backing a national campaign to tackle child sexual exploitation.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird is leading the force's efforts to stamp out all forms of CSE by supporting the #HelpingHands campaign.

CSE is described by police as a form of sexual abuse that involves the manipulation and/or coercion of young people under the age of 18 into sexual activity.

As part of National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day the world is being asked to unite against the issue.

Working under the campaign title #HelpingHands and #Thunderclap people have been asked to write a pledge on their hands and show their support for the day by posting a picture of it on social media.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird DBE QC, said:

Doing all we can to keep the most vulnerable members of our communities safe is incredibly important to me and I give my full backing to this campaign.

There is lots of proactive work taking place to raise awareness of this issue and educate people about spotting the warning signs and I will ensure Northumbria Police continues to do all it can to tackle this completely unacceptable abuse.

Anyone who comes forward seeking help will be listened to and given the protection they need.

Absolutely no child or young person should be left to suffer in silence and our officers are committed to seeking justice for victims and put offenders before the courts.”

– Vera Baird,
As part of National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day the world is being asked to unite against CSE. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Supt Steve Barron of the force's Safeguarding department said:

We all play a part in raising awareness of CSE and encourage reporting because safeguaring is everyone's business - we all need to do our bit.

The national awareness day is an excellent opportunity for the public to show their support and help get involved. We ask anyone who sees anything suspicious or has any doubts about a relationship involving a child to say something.

It is as simple as - if you see say something that doesn't seem right, say something. Contact police, or talk to someone about it. It may be nothing but it may also save a child becoming a victim of CSE."

We do have a lot of proactive engagement with partners and schools to help educate young people, parents, teachers and carers. We know it is a difficult topic to approach young people with but with early intervention it can help prevent offenders taking advantage of children."

– Supt Steve Barron

Northumbria Police works closely with the charity Bright Futures which is also taking part in the National CSE Awaresness Day.

A spokesperson from Bright Futures said:

We are carrying out a week of action which involves delivering presentations and information stalls in secondary schools and colleges to raise awareness of healthy relationships, online safety, grooming and child sexual exploitation.

We will be carrying out detached work across the area engaging with young people in their local communities and further raising awareness.

All young people we work with are writing pledges to show their support for campaign which are being shared on social media to raise awareness with other young people.

The force will also be hosting an event at SafetyWorks! in Newcastle on Saturday to support CSE Awareness Day and are encouraging people to come along between 10am and 1pm to see the fantastic facilities and learn more about spotting the signs of CSE.

– A spokesperson from Bright Futures