18 March is the National Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) awareness day. Under the Safeguarding Partnership Board (SPB) umbrella, a number of local agencies are working together to raise awareness and educate islanders on the signs of CSE, and where to get help.
CSE is a form of abuse that involves the manipulation and/ or coercion of young people under 18, into sexual activity. As a form of grooming , the young person may receive something – such as affection, a bed for the night, food, alcohol, gifts – from their abuser. The young person may also believe they are in a loving, consensual relationship, when in fact they are being exploited.
Throughout March, the Education department and Jersey Youth Service are delivering assemblies and lessons in PSHE class to educate students on the topic of CSE, and where they can go to get help and advice. Information will also be made available on learningathome.gov.je
Patricia Marius, Designate Nurse Safeguarding Children and Adults is the new chair of the Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation Subgroup at the Safeguarding Partnership Board. She commented: “Identifying cases of CSE has to be a joint effort with the help and insight of friends, parents, guardians and teachers to strengthen the response to exploitation in communities as they are best placed to recognise those tell-tale signs in changes in behaviour that may be out of character”.
“We know the best form of prevention is through education and while original plans, like many this year have had to be scaled back due to Covid restrictions, we hope to raise awareness of the signs that CSE may be happening, and signpost islanders to where help can be sought.”
Islanders can show their support by writing a personal pledge on their hand and posting on social media using the hashtag #HelpingHands and #CEADay21.
If you are worried about the safety or wellbeing of yourself or another child or young person, there are a number of places where you can get help and advice:
- Call the Children and Families Hub locally on 01534 519000
- Speak to someone you trust like your teacher or youth worker, who will be able to advise you, contact YES on Freephone 0800 735 0010
- Talk to Childline in the UK via the Childline website or on 0800 1111
- Call the police if you or someone you know is in immediate danger on 01534 612612 (or 999 in emergencies)