Coventry City Council is running training sessions with teaching staff in primary and secondary schools on how to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation (CSE).
Over 70 schools in Coventry have already completed the training, including President Kennedy School where trained teachers have led sessions with students about the importance of reporting signs of CSE.
Councillor Ed Ruane, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “It’s important that we, as a city and as a council, identify children or young people who are being sexually exploited or who are at risk of being sexually exploited as early as possible. Safeguarding our children is important and no child should ever be the victim of such horrific abuse.
“I would encourage all schools to take the training if they haven’t already. We all need to do our bit to help protect the city’s children. Any suspicions should be reported straight away.”
Richard Beattie, Assistant Headteacher at President Kennedy School, said: “More than 200 of our staff took part in training in June but we’ve also done work with the children and young people too.”
"Safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility and it’s important that we equip our staff to be aware and to spot the signs of CSE because they work so closely with school children on a daily basis.”
The training covers details of typical signs of child sexual exploitation; who to contact if people see signs of exploitation; and wider issues about safeguarding children.
More information can be found on www.coventry.gov.uk/cse
Anyone who is concerned that they may know a victim of CSE can report to the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency, or the Coventry social care team on 024 7678 8555 or out of hours on 024 7683 2222.
Coventry City Council has set up a CSE team called Horizon which includes social workers, youth workers, children and families workers, a CSE co-ordinator and a specialist DC CSE police officer.
Children and young people can phone or text a national helpline number 116 000. It is available 24/7 and is free to contact.
Helpful information is also available at www.seeme-hearme.org.uk