Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness day observed in South Yorkshire

The NSPCC has joined up with South Yorkshire organisations to raise awareness for child sexual exploitation in the region.

“We accept that we have learned lessons from things that happened in the past,” said Det Chief Insp Joanne Bates of South Yorkshire Police. “And now we have dedicated teams in relation to vulnerability and dealing with CSE.”

She was speaking a day after child sexual exploitation (CSE) awareness day was observed across the country on Sunday 18 March.

South Yorkshire has suffered from several CSE scandals over the years, with the most notable one being in Rotherham, which took place from the late 1980s to until around 2010.

“Awareness is always being raised among our own staff and externally. We encourage everybody to report CSE, if they have any concerns whatsoever, and they will be taken seriously,” Det Chief Insp Bates said.

Data collected by the NSPCC, the UK’s leading children’s charity, shows that every eight minutes a child sex offence is recorded in the UK and one in ten offences has an online element.

The charity has been running a campaign in Sheffield named ‘It’s Not Okay’ in partnership with Sheffield Futures, a non-profit that supports young people.

Helen Westerman, the campaigns manager at NSPCC, said children may become secretive, would behave differently, or may change peer groups if they have been subjected to CSE.

Det Chief Insp Bates added: ““If you are suffering, or you have concerns about someone else, please be assured that we are absolutely committed to tackling this crime and that we will listen to you. Support is available from a range of specialist agencies, including the NSPCC and Barnardo’s.”