National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness day
March 18 2017 | Blog
You may have already guessed that over here at Hope & Fortune HQ we have a giant bee in our maternal bonnet when it comes to protecting children and we are actively involved in the fight against Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE). (I still work in the North Devon Safeguarding Children Team as their CSE Specialist Nurse).
It's a huge and sadly, mostly hidden problem in the UK and around the world. The National Working Group (of which we are members), is a charity run by professionals who's object is to tackle child exploitation. Today 18th March 2017 is National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness day in the UK and you can get involved.
It's hard to think about this subject, we understand, most people would rather not. But unless everyone speaks up or acts in some way the nightmare is not going to go away.
Child Sexual Exploitation is Everybody's Business.
It would be difficult not to be aware from all the news coverage that Child Sexual Exploitation is a huge problem. It’s an uncomfortable topic; one which is easy for society to sweep under the carpet away from discussion. It can be difficult to accept that such abhorrent and predatory crime could be happening on your doorstep, at your local park, to your child.
Child Sexual Exploitation is a form of Child Sexual Abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.
Child sexual exploitation is never the victim’s fault, even if there is some form of exchange: all children and young people under the age of 18 have a right to be safe and should be protected from harm.
If you See Something, Say Something! Child Protection is Everybody's Business.
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends" MLK.
There are a few small things that you can do today that will make a real difference and will make you feel like you've been a part of the solution.
Join the Twitter and Instagram campaigns, #HelpingHands #CSEDay16 #SaySomething #SaySomethingifyouSeeSomething
Awareness alone is not going to solve the problem but without awareness the problem will never be solved.
There are some other wonderful organisations around the world that we also support, Check out the groundbreaking work the MissingGirls campaign are doing in India, and our interview with their founder Leena Kejriwal here.
Let's all pull together and work towards a future where CSE and Trafficking is a thing of the past, because we all stepped up and made it easy for children to speak up and impossible for abusers to hide.
Love Louise xxxxx
FACTS ABOUT CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION/ FOOD FOR THOUGHT.
Like all forms of child sexual abuse, child sexual exploitation:
• Can affect any child or young person (male or female) under the age of 18 years, including 16 and 17 year olds who can legally consent to sex
• Can still be abuse even if the sexual activity appears consensual
• Can include both contact (penetrative and non-penetrative acts) and non-contact sexual activity
• Can take place in person or via technology, or a combination of both
• Can involve force and/or enticement-based methods of compliance and may, or may not, be accompanied by violence or threats of violence
• May occur without the child or young person’s immediate knowledge (through others copying videos or images they have created and posting on social media
• Can be perpetrated by individuals or groups, males or females, and children or adults. The abuse can be a one-off occurrence or a series of incidents over time and range from opportunistic to complex organised abuse
• Is typified by some form of power imbalance in favour of those perpetrating the abuse. Whilst age may be the most obvious, this power imbalance can also be due to a range of other factors including gender, sexual identity, cognitive ability, physical strength, status, and access to economic or other resources
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