The Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland today (Monday) launched a Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness week which aims on increase awareness of the risks to children and young people.
Board members, including PSNI, local health trusts, NSPCC and Barnardo’s, will be running a week of social media activity to highlight the threat faced by children in Northern Ireland and raise awareness of the possible signs of child sexual exploitation.
Over the course of the week, the agencies will be posting a variety of messages, videos, clips and images, including messages from some victims of child sexual exploitation, on their social media platforms.
The campaign is using the hashtag #CSEAwarenessNI
A new play ‘Crashing’ by Alter Ego Creative Solutions, the company behind ‘Chelsea’s Choice ’, aimed at increasing awareness of the issue among young boys, will also be launched this week.
Bernie McNally, Interim Independent Chair of the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland explained: “Child sexual exploitation is a type of sexual abuse where children are coerced and manipulated into some form of sexual activity. Children or young people can be tricked into believing they are in a genuine and loving relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend.
“They are often given money, gifts, drugs, alcohol or affection to create a dependency on their abuser. Fear of violence if they don’t comply with their abuser’s demands is also a significant factor.
“Sexual exploitation can happen to any young person – whatever their background, age, gender, race or sexuality or wherever they live.
“As those tasked with tackling the issue of sexual exploitation of children, we know the most effective way to do this is via strong multi-agency and partnership working."
If you or another young person you know is in immediate danger from Child Sexual Exploitation please ring the Police on 999 or 101 in a non-emergency. You can also ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.