What is CSE and how to spot the signs: Charities and police in Sheffield work together to raise awareness

Charities NSPCC, Sheffield Futures and South Yorkshire Police have all come together to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation.

Thursday, 22nd March 2018, 5:47 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd March 2018, 6:00 pm
NSPCC campaigns manager Helen Westerman, Janet Fidler from Sheffield Futures and DS Laura Taylor alongside DCI Joanne Bates from South Yorkshire Police.

Helen Westerman, campaigns manager at the NSPCC, said that child abuse and sexual exploitation of this nature is something young people know the least about.

She noted the PANTS campaign which tells children as young as four and five that no one should touch or touch their private parts and encourage youngsters to tell 'bad secrets' of they feel frightened or upset.

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"This gives children the language to say no and for them to understand what's happening to them isn't necessarily right and the importance of speaking out," she said.

"This is problem across every town and city in the UK."

"Children might become secretive, they may behave differently from how they usually do, they may change peer groups so they might not be hanging around with people they previously did.

"They may get gifts they might have been able to buy themselves and their ability to maintain their school work and friendships, that might be affected, because they're trying to appease the person that's exploiting them.

"The relationship can start out being quite normalised and they think they're actually in a normal relationship with somebody who is significantly older than they are.

"When it becomes more and more inappropriate, that young person might not always speak out about that or know where to go for help and support - they feel like they're almost in too deep and that's why services like Jane's are really important."

Charity Sheffield Futures, support children and young people in Sheffield identified as of risk or are involved in CSE working with other agencies to provide a real 'wrap around service'

Jane Fidler from Sheffield Futures said: "If someone is not comfortable going down one route, there are others available - what we're trying to say is, we're not precious it doesn't matter who you speak to, as long as you speak to somebody."