14 March 2017
Youth workers are running interactive awareness stands in the Island’s secondary schools over the next two weeks to raise young people’s awareness about the dangers of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE).
They will also have a stall in King Street on Saturday 18 March, National CSE Awareness Day, to help explain the issue to the general public. A number of other agencies, including the police and Safeguarding Partnership Board, will also be taking part.
Across the Youth Service, youth workers will be focusing on CSE over the next two weeks in a number of ways: through general discussion, videos, quizzes and art work.
The main aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation among young people and adults in Jersey. This is so people of all ages can spot the signs of CSE and get support if they, or someone they know, is a possible victim of the crime.
Principal Youth Officer Mark Capern said, “Preventative work is essential in this area so that young people understand when there is a problem and that help is available. If they are aware of the signs then they are also less likely to get exploited.”
The Youth Service has a projects team who are working on new schemes which are specifically targeting young people who are at risk or in need of support. As part of this, a small team of youth workers recently visited the Catch 22 Missing From Home project in Liverpool to find out how the service is run and how a similar service could be created here in Jersey. This work ties in with the schools CSE roadshows this week.
Detective Inspector Mark Hafey of the Public Protection Unit said, “Reported incidents of CSE in Jersey are low, but there is evidence that, on occasion, young people are exposed to CSE, so we mustn’t be complacent in our approach to tackling it. Jersey has relatively low levels of crime, but we should not be naïve to the fact that appalling crimes can still happen here.
“We want to play our part in the National CSE Awareness Day, because of that very reason. We want people to know what CSE is, what the signs are and how they can help.
“The National CSE Awareness Day aims to highlight the issues surrounding sexual exploitation; encouraging everyone from all walks of life to think, spot and speak out against abuse and adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ to this abuse within our society. It is unacceptable that any child who confides in someone could be ignored. Together, we can work to inform, educate and prevent child sexual abuse.”
Other initiatives are also taking place to combat CSE, including an all-day training workshop for professional from various agencies. This is taking place on Thursday 16 March and is being organised by the Safeguardng Partnership Board.
Glenys Johnston, Independent Chair of Safeguarding Children Partnership Board said, “Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day is an important opportunity for all of us to be reminded that safeguarding is everyone's business. If you have concerns that a young person you know may be experiencing child sexual exploitation then talk to the police or contact the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub. You don't have to be certain, you can still share your concerns and worries and I would urge you to do so."
Education Minister, Deputy Rod Bryans said, “I would like to thank all the professionals involved for the valuable multi-agency work that is taking place to ensure the safety of our young people.”