An awareness day being held nationally to highlight the issues surrounding child sexual exploitation is supported by local health commissioners in Blackburn with Darwen.
The National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day on 18th March, which aims to encourage everyone to spot the signs and support young people appropriately, has the full backing of NHS Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group.
Child sexual exploitation is a form of child abuse in which children are sexually exploited for money, power or status. Sexual exploitation can take many forms from the seemingly ‘consensual’ relationship where sex is exchanged for attention/affection, accommodation or gifts, to serious organised crime and child trafficking. The perpetrator always holds some kind of power over the victim, increasing the dependence of the victim as the exploitative relationship develops.
Often children and young people who are victims of sexual exploitation do not realise they are being abused. Susan Clarke, head of safeguarding and the designated safeguarding nurse at Blackburn with Darwen CCG, said: “There are a number of warning signs that can indicate a child may be being groomed for sexual exploitation and behaviours that can indicate that a child is being sexually exploited.”
“Whilst some factors can make a child more vulnerable to sexual exploitation than others for example children with: learning disabilities; low self-esteem; familial abuse or problems at home; a history of abuse, homelessness or living in a care home or temporary accommodation, it must be recognised that children can be exploited regardless of social, ethnic or cultural backgrounds.”
“There are also potential indicators that may be apparent in children and young people who are experiencing sexual exploitation, which could come to the attention of health professionals these can vary, and include; drug and alcohol misuse, self-harm, signs of physical injuries and repeated sexually-transmitted infections, pregnancy and terminations”
“The impact of sexual exploitation can have a devastating effect on the lives of victims, and their families.”
Anyone with concerns about child sexual exploitation in the Blackburn with Darwen locality can contact:
- Police on 101. (In an emergency always dial 999).
- Blackburn with Darwen Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) 01254 6664000
Or the Blackburn with Darwen ENGAGE team on 01254 56145
More information can be found on the :
- Blackburn with Darwen Safeguarding Children’s Board website at: www.lscb.org.uk
- Lancashire Constabulary website at http://www.lancashire.police.uk/cse
Notes to editors
– Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is a form of sexual abuse that involves the manipulation and/or coercion of young people under the age of 18 into sexual activity
– There are a number of signs that would indicate a child is at risk or experiencing CSE, these include:
o Physical injuries/repeated A&E attendances
o Drug and alcohol misuse
o Self-harm and suicidal ideation
o Repeated sexually transmitted infection, pregnancy and terminations
o Frequently reported missing from home
o Deterioration in behaviour
o Rapid change in appearance including self-neglect
o Decline in school attendance
– Some factors may make a child more vulnerable to CSE. Some of these vulnerabilities include:
o Learning disabilities
o Confusion around sexual orientation
o History of abuse eg neglect, familial sexual abuse, physical, emotional abuse.
o Low self esteem
o Young people in foster or residential care
o Gang association
o Missing from home and homelessness
For further information please contact the media team at NHS Midlands and Lancashire CSU on 01772 214104.