Police Officers have been visiting shops, pubs and hotels across Peterborough as part of a new campaign to raise awareness and encourage reporting of child sexual exploitation (CSE). Do you know what to look out for?
The new advertising campaign sees officers engage with and educate businesses across the city about the crime, which is a force priority alongside other offences related to child protection.
The campaign has been launched after concerns about recent incidents of CSE in Peterborough, with suspicions more may be going unreported.
Businesses across Peterborough will be displaying posters issued by the force highlighting signs of CSE in each setting (hotels, licensed premises and shops) and how to report concerns.
The posters include a QR code which, when scanned, directs people to the dedicated child protection page of the force website with more advice and information.
Alongside educating staff at pubs, shops and hotels it is also hoped the campaign will encourage members of the public to find out more about the signs to spot and what to look out for.
What is CSE?
Child sexual exploitation involves situations, contexts or relationships in which a person under 18 is given something, for example food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts or money in return for performing sexual activities or having sexual activities performed on them. It can also involve violence, coercion and intimidation, with threats of physical harm or humiliation.
In all cases of child sexual exploitation (CSE), the person exploiting the child or young person is able to create the impression of authority over them in some form. This could be because of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength or economic situation.
Sexual exploitation of children can start through the use of technology, without them immediately realising. For example, they might be persuaded to post images on the internet or via mobile phone without immediate payment or personal gain.
Violence, coercion and intimidation are common, with a particular vulnerability of the child or young person being used against them. This can make the young person feel as though they have no choice but to continue the relationship.
What to look out for
Signs of a child or young person being in an exploitative relationship can vary. Some examples include:
- going missing from home or care
- physical injuries
- misuse of drugs or alcohol
- involvement in offending
- repeat sexually-transmitted infections, pregnancies or terminations
- absenteeism from school
- deterioration in physical appearance
- evidence of online sexual bullying
- evidence of vulnerability on social networking sites
- emotional distance from family members
- receiving gifts from unknown sources
- recruiting others into exploitative situations
- poor mental health
- thinking about or attempting suicide
If you suspect a person of carrying out child sexual exploitation, or think someone you know has been a victim, or may be soon, visit our How to report possible child abuse page or call our non-emergency number, 101. If you have a hearing or speech impairment, use our textphone service on 18001 101.
If someone is in immediate danger of harm, please call 999 now. If you have a hearing or speech impairment, use our textphone service 18000 or text us on 999 if you’ve pre-registered with the emergencySMS service.
What are we doing about child sexual exploitation?
Offenders can be anyone from any social or ethnic background, but they all have one thing in common: abusing children and young people and using their status or position to exploit these vulnerable victims.
We are committed to making sure child exploitation offenders face justice and don’t get away with their actions. You can find out if someone has a record of child sexual offences under Sarah’s Law.
A national charity helping children in poverty, supporting young carers and helping families looking to foster or adopt.
National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)
A national children’s charity, preventing abuse and helping those affected to recover.
Parents Against Child Exploitation (PACE)
The leading national charity working with parents and carers of sexually exploited children.
A UK organisation campaigning against child trafficking and exploitation.
A service that allows you to pass on information about crime 100% anonymously.
A national campaign to tackle violence against women and girls.