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Dorset Police:Beware Signs Of Child Sexual Exploitation

Chris Naughton

Published at 6:49am 12th November 2014. (Updated at 7:19am 12th November 2014)

Dorset police is encouraging members of the public to be aware of the signs of Child Sexual exploitation (CSE) in a bid to protect some of our most vulnerable children.

CSE is a form of child abuse that involves the manipulation or coercion of young people to engage in sexual activity in exchange for money, gifts including alcohol, tobacco and drugs, accommodation, affection or status.

Children are befriended - sometimes online through social media and often initially supplied with drugs and alcohol. Once trust is gained the balance of power can shift and the sexual abuse begins.

Perpetrators can exercise financial, emotional and physical control over a victim, and trick them in to believing they are in a consensual loving relationship. This can lead to forcing them in to sexual activity - sometimes for financial profit with multiple abusers. This can, although not exclusively, also be associated with gang membership and culture.

Deputy Head of Public Protection, Detective Chief Inspector Chris Naughton (pictured above) said: "CSE is a public protection priority everywhere. Professionals working in child focused roles are being actively trained to recognise the early indicators and factors that can identify children at risk. This gives professionals the awareness, knowledge and understanding to address any issues."

There are many signs that a child may be at risk. These include drug or alcohol misuse, sexual health issues and sexualised behaviour, sudden access to money or new things, self harm, change in appearance, change in temperament, low self-esteem, unexplained injuries, criminality, older friends and acquaintances and repeatedly going missing, absent or truant.

For those young people involved in/or at risk from CSE, the Safe Schools and Communities Team (SSCT) offer a targeted intervention programmes and education packages to schools. They also offer training for professionals who work with children and young people.

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Naughton continued: "Members of the public and those in service industries such as taxi drivers, hoteliers and food outlets can help safeguard children at risk by looking out for signs such as:
Being taken into a hotel room by one or more adults who do not seem to be family members
Being in a hotel room which is visited or requested by a number of additional adults
Going by taxi to a hotel or other venue to meet a group of adults who do not seem to be family members
Being out late with older adults who do not seem to be family members
Being bought alcoholic drinks by adults although the young person is already intoxicated
Being in the company of adults who are known or suspected of being involved in adult prostitution
Being bought food or drinks by a much older adult whom they seem to see as a boyfriend / girlfriend
Indications of sexual activity with one or more adult who is significantly older than the young person
Indications of sexual activity involving a young person who you know or suspect to be under 16

Dorset Police's Child Sexual Exploitation Team works with partners to actively target, investigate and arrest any offenders suspected of exploiting children within Dorset.

"In addition, the Dorset Police Safeguarding Referral Unit, in close cooperation with partner agencies, works to ensure that all children who are vulnerable to such exploitation are safeguarded and protected.

"The message is simple and clear; if you commit these crimes against children we will find you, arrest you and bring you to justice."

If you have any concerns that a child you know may be a victim of Child Sexual Exploitation report it to Dorset Police on 101 or in an emergency 999 and make an immediate report.

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