Children will be shown words of comfort, support and advice as local authorities raise their hands to help put a stop to sexual exploitation in the county.
On Saturday, 18 March, Cheshire Constabulary alongside Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton and Warrington Borough Council’s will publish photographs of messages written on their hands in a powerful sign of solidarity to those who have suffered from abuse – using #HelpingHands or #CSEDay2017
The campaign – part of the national Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Awareness Day – will highlight the issues surrounding CSE and encourage everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse. It will also send a clear message to adults as well as children who develop inappropriate relationships with children.
Detective Chief Superintendent Nigel Wenham, head of Cheshire Police Public Protection Directorate, said: “We all have a duty to protect those who are most vulnerable within our communities. Every day we continue to work hard to protect children and to ensure the appropriate advice, support and safeguarding is in place for them.
“It is important to remember there is never one type of victim or offender and that child sexual exploitation can happen to anyone. The impact this type of crime can have on a child is absolutely devastating and can have a long lasting and significant effect on all those involved.
“CSE Awareness Day provides an opportunity for us all to focus on this very important issue. In particular we want to show the importance of working together to educate our children and each other about the dangers, the signs, the indicators of abuse, so that we can safeguard our children and bring to justice those who abuse.”
Councillor Liz Durham, cabinet member for Children’s Services at Cheshire East Council, said: "Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is a destructive and far reaching crime and we all have a duty to ensure we all do everything we can to protect our children and young people."
"We are working closely with all of our partners as we recognise that an integrated and child centred approach is an important part of our protection and prevention strategy."
Cllr Nicole Meardon, Cambinet Member for Children and Young People, at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “On Saturday the 18 March we join the police, voluntary agencies, national agencies, communities, parents and children in promoting awareness of CSE. Our intention is to shine a light on the damaging impact that CSE has on our children and young people and to tell those who are experiencing this first hand, we are here, we will listen and we will act. Working together we can support and protect our young people and make a stand against those who exploit them - the more you know, the more you see.”
Cllr Tom McInerney, Halton’s Executive Board member for Children, Young People and Families said: “Child sexual exploitation (CSE) destroys lives and affects all our communities, that it is why it is so important that we all join together to protect our children and young people and send out the strong and clear message that there is no hiding place for this abhorrent crime.”
“On this Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Awareness Day, I would urge everyone in our community to join Halton and its partners in supporting this campaign by educating our children about the dangers of CSE and being alert to the signs of exploitation and abuse.”
Councillor Jean Carter, executive board member for Children’s Services, said: “Child sexual exploitation is a harrowing, and often hidden, crime which has a devastating impact on children and young people, their families, and society.
“Protecting children and ensuring that victims are put at the heart of everything we do is a top priority for Warrington Borough Council, and we work closely with the police and our partner organisations to raise awareness, support victims, bring offenders to justice and make our communities safer.
“Safeguarding children is everyone’s business, and I urge you to show your support for this campaign, be alert, and help raise awareness. If we work together, we can prevent the sexual exploitation of young people.”
Police & Crime Commissioner David Keane said: “In Cheshire we are committed to supporting and taking a stand against child sexual exploitation to protect children who are most vulnerable in our communities.
“National awareness days are powerful ways of standing together to highlight the issues surrounding CSE and encouraging people to come forward to seek help and support. CSE needs to be treated as business as usual with regular assertive action taken against those who offend, and to keep our young people safe from harm. I think it’s vital we work together to protect children and young people and I will be ensuring this continues to be a priority for the Constabulary.”
In Cheshire we are committed to supporting and taking a stand against child sexual exploitation to protect children who are most vulnerable in our communities.