This five-minute video is a powerful portrait of one girl′s experience of child sexual exploitation and the impact it had on both her and her family.
Her story forms part of a case study released today (Wednesday, March 18) by Cheshire Police to mark National CSE Awareness Day.
Assistance chief constable Guy Hindle said: “The case study features the personal journey of one teenage girl focusing on how she was sexually exploited by a man older than her. She talks about what happened to her and the impact this had on her and her family − encouraging other young people who may be in a similar situation to come forward and report it.
“This case resulted in a successful prosecution at court and reinforces the message that child sexual exploitation is a crime and will not be tolerated. It is hoped that the visual account will strike a chord with others − ensuring those who are being sexually exploited report it to the authorities and get all the help and support they need.”
National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day
The day aims to highlight the issues surrounding CSE - encouraging everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse and adopt a zero tolerance approach to adults developing inappropriate relationships with children and children forming inappropriate sexual relationships with their peers.
Today, March 18, sees the launch of the Pan Cheshire Child Sexual Exploitation Multi-Agency Strategy, which sets out how the four local authorities across Cheshire and their partners intend to address and continuously improve the way they are tackling CSE over the next three years.
The next phase of the campaign is focusing on raising awareness of the signs and behaviours associated with CSE amongst key people who may come into contact with potential victims.
Information packs have been distributed to every secondary school in the county containing key information and advice for teachers and those working with young people. Awareness packs have been distributed to hotel staff and taxi drivers across the county - accompanied by adverts on buses and taxis on key routes across Cheshire highlighting the campaign.
Moving forward the campaign will focus on raising awareness amongst those who work in the health sector − including GP surgeries and health centres - along with those working in the late night economy.
What the experts say
ACC Hindle added: “Child sexual exploitation is an issue that Cheshire Police and its partners take extremely seriously. We all have a duty to protect those who are most vulnerable within our communities and everyone involved continues to work hard to tackle the issue.
“It is important to remember that there is not one type of victim or offender − child sexual exploitation can happen to anyone. The impact of this type of crime is devastating and it can have long lasting and significant effects on all those involved. Many victims are too scared to come forward and talk about what is happening to them − some fear they will not be believed, others do not see themselves as victims."
Paul O’Neill, The Children’s Society’s programme manager for Cheshire and Warrington, said: “Sexual abuse shatters children’s lives and can have a lasting impact.
“We therefore welcome this new strategy and its focus on working with young people and communities to help them to spot the warning signs and ask for support.
“By shining a light on this important issue we can help to prevent vulnerable children going through this ordeal. None of us can rest until this evil has been completely eradicated.”
If you are concerned that someone you know may be at risk of child sexual exploitation please contact Cheshire Police on 101. Information can also be left anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.