Dorset Parents Asked to Look Out for Child Sexual Exploitation
1:49pm 13th August 2013
We're being taught to look out for signs of child sex exploitation in Dorset.
Local councils and the Police have joined forces to raise awareness in the community in the hope people will spot the signs of someone suffering abuse.
These include noticing if a young person has a significantly older boyfriend or girlfriend, being dropped off by an unknown adult or appearing under the influence of drug or alcohol.
There are very few cases of Child Exploitation reported in Dorset, but Officers and Safeguarding teams are keen to raise awareness on the issue.
Jez Noyce, Detective Inspector for the Child Abuse Investigation Team, Dorset Police, says it is vital people are able to spot the signs early and feel comfortable raising their concerns:
"When this appalling crime happens, it can cause lasting damage to victims. It can create tensions in communities and anxiety amongst all parents. We know of fewer than ten cases of sexual exploitation in the county, but for us this is too many. By educating the public, cases can be brought to light earlier and can give victims the confidence to come forward."
Cllr Rebecca Knox, Cabinet member for Children’s Safeguarding and Families at Dorset County Council, said:
"Young people naturally become more private as they grow older and it is difficult to know every detail of their lives, but we urge parents who have any concerns about possible ‘grooming’ to talk with a professional who knows their child - such as a teacher or youth worker.
"During the next academic year, the Dorset Safeguarding Children Board will be working with schools to help young people to recognise the warning signs and avoid situations where they may become vulnerable."