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PCC Vera Baird and Northumbria Police back a national campaign tackling Child Sexual Exploitation

18th March 2016

PCC Vera Baird and Northumbria Police are backing a national campaign tackling Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

CSE is a form of sexual abuse that involves the manipulation and/or coercion of young people under the age of 18 into sexual activity.

Today, the world is being asked to unite against the issue as part of National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day. Working under the campaign title #HelpingHands, people have been asked to write a pledge on their hands and show their support for the day by posting a picture of it on social media.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, said: “Keeping the most vulnerable members of our communities safe is of the highest importance to me and I give my full support to this very important campaign.

“It’s vital young people identify when they are in a situation causing them harm, be it physical, or through coercive or controlling behaviour, recognise that it’s completely unacceptable and that they should seek help.

“Absolutely no child should suffer in silence – they will always be listened to and given the protection they need. This is vital to them having positive relationships in their future lives.

“I will ensure that within Northumbria, police continue to do all they can to tackle this issue head on, working hard to raise awareness and educate people about spotting the warning signs so we can seek justice for victims and put offenders before the courts.”

Supt Steve Barron said: “It is really important we help raise awareness about what CSE is, how to spot the signs of it and what we can do to prevent it. Northumbria Police is working tirelessly to support victims of CSE and help identify others who may be victims without realising they are.

“We also do a lot of proactive engagement with partners and schools to help educate young people, parents, teachers and carers. We know it is a difficult topic to approach young people with but with early intervention it can help prevent offenders taking advantage of children.

Supt Barron also urges the public to get involved and show their support for the day.

He continued: “The national awareness day is also an excellent opportunity for the public to show their support and help get involved. We ask anyone who sees anything suspicious or has any doubts about a relationship involving a child to say something.

“It is as simple as – if you see say something that doesn’t seem right, say something. Contact police, or talk to someone about it. It may be nothing but it may also save a child becoming a victim of CSE.”

For more information about the day follow #helpinghands, #CSEDay2016 and #Saysomething or search Northumbria Police CSE online