The second National Child Sexual Exploitation awareness day took place on Friday 18th March 2016 with Partner agencies united to try and reduce Child Sexual Exploitation related incidents in Torbay.
Representatives from Police, Children’s Services, Health, Checkpoint, Council, Schools and YMCA worked together to ensure that key messages were delivered throughout the Bay.
In support of National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness day, manned stands were set up in town centres of Torquay, Paignton and Brixham. Members of staff from the above agencies engaged with over 600 members of the public offering advice and raising awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation.
Awareness was also raised through social media throughout the day and leaflets, posters and stickers were distributed to schools, shops, cafes, churches and community and sports groups throughout the bay throughout the week leading up to the day.
Feedback from the public regarding the day was very positive, with some comments being:
• “It’s nice to see this”
• “I was abused as a child, thank you for speaking up, I couldn’t”
• “This is really good, raising awareness. It’s not like it was in my day”
• “I never realised this was going on, hopefully we can make a difference”
• “It’s good to raise awareness. What a good idea!”
• “This is the most brilliant thing I’ve seen in a long time. Thank you”.
• Guidance was given to multiple elderly members of the public who wanted advice around internet use
As part of the National Working Group campaign, people are encouraged to write pledges onto their own hand or paper hands. Over the course of the day 115 hand pledges were completed in Torbay, some of the pledges were:
• It’s an awful thing it needs to stop
• We need to look after our little ones
• There are too many vulnerable people
• I will look out for my loved
• I will pass on information to other parents, knowledge is power
• My little sister is 14. She set up a fake facebook account saying she is 16. I’m going to tell her to stop now
• I want to be heard and kept safe
• I will look for signs and offer support where I can
• If I thought a child was being abused I’d pick up my phone to report it
• Keep our ears and eyes open
• Observe. Not be afraid to get involved
DI Gaynor Bell from Torbay Public Protection Unit said "I feel privileged to be the Torbay MACSE chair and wanted to thank everyone who gave up their time today to help raise awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation. I am aware that a number of those involved have cancelled their annual leave or changed their rest days to assist with this initiative. The momentum and support for this agenda over 2015-2016 shows that agencies are committed to working together to tackle Child Sexual Exploitation in Torbay."