Jersey schoolchildren taught to spot signs of child sexual exploitation

6,000 children have taken part in the sessions. Credit: PA

More than 6,000 Jersey schoolchildren have been taught how to spot signs of child sexual exploitation.

Experts in child protection from across the Department for Children, Young People, Education and Skills, including staff in the Jersey Youth Service, have been working with schools to create information packs delivered in PSHE lessons.

Jersey's Youth Service will also be holding assemblies to help children and young people to recognise the signs of child sexual abuse and who they can speak to to get support.

The Department for Children, Young People, Education and Skills says it works alongside the Safeguarding Partnership Board, the island's police forces and community organisations to tackle the issue and support victims.

Child Sexual Exploitation affects thousands of children and young people across the UK and although cases are low in Jersey, it is a real issue that needs to be taken very seriously. “In pursuit of the identification and elimination of CSE, it is important to emphasise that the safeguarding of children in Jersey is everybody’s business.

Deputy Scott Wickenden, Jersey's Assistant Minister for Children and Education

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) involves children and young people being subjected to abuse of power by adults, often for labour, personal gratification, profit or financial advantage.

This can sometimes be in return for affection or material possessions from their abusers, who can often convince the child that they are in a genuine loving and consensual relationship.

The government says it is taking a joined-up approach and that the safeguarding services are developing ways of dealing with cases of CSE.

Collaboration is essential and knowledge in this area is crucial. Identification of CSE is not easy. Perpetrators are sophisticated in their grooming and manipulation of children and young people. Victims don’t always realise that this is happening to them; or they are controlled and intimidated, making them fearful for themselves and their families and friends.

Mark Owers, Director of Safeguarding and Care

A leaflet has also been made available for parents to encourage them to look out for signs that children may be at risk.

Anyone who has concerns for the wellbeing of themselves or others should call Jersey Police on 01534 612612, or contact the Children and Families Hub on 01534 519000 or via the website.