AN awareness event is being held in Redditch tomorrow, Wednesday, June 26, to alert and help the public spot the signs of child exploitation.
The Get Safe team – a multi agency unit will be by Mercian Square opposite St Stephen’s Church from 11am to 3pm.
Get Safe consists of people from children’s services, education, health, youth justice service, youth support services and West Mercia Police, enabling enables all partner agencies to share information and provide safeguarding plans for at risk children and bringing offenders to justice.
It aims to raise awareness and ensure that professionals, carers and parents know how to spot signs of exploitation and understand how to report concerns.
The Get Safe approach will help identify key locations where safeguarding considerations need to be made.
This could include taking action against those exploiting children, including forcing children to carry out crime, gang related activity, sexual exploitation, trafficking, modern day slavery, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and recruitment into broader criminality.
Detective Inspector Chris Watson from West Mercia Police said: “A big part of the Get Safe plan is changing perceptions and recognising that children are victims.
“A recent example of this is where we executed a drugs warrant at the home of a suspected drug dealer.
“We recovered a small amount of drugs, but most importantly, identified a child at risk of significant harm within that household.”
Detective Chief Inspector Emma Whitworth added: “We would like your help to enhance our understanding of any potential exploitation that is taking place in our community.
“We must all work together to tackle all forms of exploitation. If you are a child or young person being forced to do things you do not want to do, even commit crime, we can help you. If you are a concerned parent or carer, please know how to spot the signs and report any concerns to us.
“Reports can be made anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111, or you can contact West Mercia Police directly by calling 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.”
For more information about the Get Safe campaign, visit: www.worcestershire.gov.uk/GetSafe
Spot the signs of child exploitation:
Going missing from home or school, and/or frequenting areas associated with exploitation, substance use and committing offences.
Increase in possession of material items and money.
Excessive and secretive use of mobile phone; having multiple mobile phones or changing numbers.
Changing relationships; relationships with controlling/significantly older adult(s); isolation from friends and associating with peers who present a risk of harm and against parents’ wishes.
Decline in physical and mental health including: changing appearance (weight loss or gain, changes to personal hygiene, signs of exhaustion), self-harm or significant changes in emotional wellbeing, sexually transmitted infections, evidence of physical or sexual assault and the impacts of trauma.
Decline in school performance.
Violence against parents and/or loss of parental control.