POLICE SUPPORT LAUNCH OF CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION HELPLINE
Dorset Police and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) are supporting a new helpline which gives young people another way of reporting Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE).
The dedicated freephone helpline called ‘Say Something’ will provide assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, will be managed and operated by the charity Missing People.
The helpline which allows young people to make reports and discuss concerns about themselves or friends has been funded by The Department for Education. It is a joint initiative between the charities National Working Group (NWG) Network and Missing People.
Young people can either call or text the helpline on the anonymous 116 000 number. They will be able to access appropriate advice and support from trained and experienced staff and volunteers. If during the call any immediate safeguarding concerns for a child are raised, the charity can then share information with the police.
Detective Chief Inspector, of the Dorset Police Public Protection Unit, Chris Naughton said: “I am pleased to support the launch of this new helpline which gives children another way of engaging with support services.
“Any additional way children and young people have to report and discuss their concerns about child sexual exploitation is very welcome.
“It is vital children feel confident to talk to about their concerns, and that adults listen and believe young people when they chose to confide in us.”
Child Sexual Exploitation 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.
Dorset Police encourages everyone to think, spot the signs and speak out against abuse, and adopt a zero tolerance attitude to adults developing inappropriate relationships with children.
Signs that a child may be at risk 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.
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill said: “This is another great initiative designed to help young people report abuse, or seek advice on potential abuse scenarios.
“Anything that increases signposting in this crucial area has to be commended, and will hopefully increase reporting.”
Detective Chief Inspector Chris Naughton continued: “We encourage everyone from all walks of life to think, spot and speak out. There is a responsibility on everyone in society to do all they can to protect vulnerable people. Together, we can work to inform, educate and prevent this form of child abuse.
“We are resolute in our determination to identify perpetrators of CSE and bring them 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 dial 999 and make an immediate report.