New campaign says protecting children and young people is everyone’s business

Telford & Wrekin Council has today launched a campaign aimed at preventing child sexual exploitation (CSE) by raising awareness of the signs and encouraging the public and professionals to report any concerns.

New campaign says protecting children and young people is everyone’s business

Telford’s ‘Seen something? Say something’ campaign has been launched by the council working in partnership with victims and survivors of child sexual exploitation and NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

The project comes in the wake of the Independent Inquiry into Telford Child Sexual Exploitation, which put forward a number of recommendations for West Mercia Police, Public Health and the Council to implement, including the recommendation for the development of an awareness-raising campaign.

The council’s ‘Seen something? Say something’ website offers advice to members of the public, parents, carers, professionals and young people themselves, including a list of signs and symptoms that may suggest child sexual exploitation is taking place, plus guidance on how to report concerns, along with links to support for victims and families.

Councillor Lee Carter (Labour), Telford & Wrekin Council Cabinet Member for the Independent Inquiry into Telford CSE, said:

“We have been working tirelessly to ensure we put in place all of the recommendations from the inquiry. All of our work is being guided by people with lived experience of child sexual exploitation and we want to thank them for their continued and vital contribution.

“We’ve worked together to develop this awareness campaign’s key messages, identifying warning signs that will help people to spot potential child sexual exploitation taking place, and making it easier to report concerns.”

Councillor Shirley Reynolds (Labour), Cabinet Member for Early Years, Children and Young People, said:

“We’re appealing to families and friends of young people, but also to members of the public and professionals who may witness incidents that raise concern – we want people to recognise the signs and symptoms of child sexual exploitation and act on any concerns.

“Working together as a community will help us take protecting our young people to the next level, because protecting children and young people is everyone’s business.”

In a joint statement from Holly Archer, Scarlett Jones and Joanne Phillips, Telford and Wrekin’s lived experience consultees, they said:

“We’re very happy to support this important campaign raising awareness of child sexual exploitation so that people can recognise what the signs are and the action they should take to help protect children and young people. 

“The ‘Seen something? Say something’ campaign should help to raise awareness across the borough and prevent the exploitation of vulnerable people.”

Vanessa Whatley, Interim Chief Nursing Officer for NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, said:

“NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin recognises the importance of protecting children and young people to live safety, free from abuse and neglect.

“We are proud to work in partnership with Telford & Wrekin Council to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation. We are continuously developing our systems and processes while ensuring we have a well-educated workforce across health services to ensure early identification of those at risk. Safeguarding children is everybody’s business. If you have any concerns, please report them.”

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18 March marks National Child Sexual Exploitation AwarenessDay.