A new interactive online film, where viewers choose what happens next, is the latest addition to a campaign to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation (CSE) across the West Midlands.
‘See Me Hear Me – Figure out my story’ follows the fictional story of a teenage girl at risk of exploitation.
The viewer makes decisions about how her story develops, the choices she makes and how it ends.
It aims to not only help raise awareness of CSE among young people but to be a focus for discussion about CSE between parents, carers, schools or professionals and young people.
The film is the latest addition to the regional CSE awareness campaign website www.seeme-hearme.org.uk.
The site is a one-stop shop for information, help and advice for young people, parents and carers, professionals and schools. Each audience has its own area, tailored specifically to them.
It provides advice to young people on how to keep safe and a series of moving fictional films raising awareness of sexual exploitation.
Businesses are also able to download materials, with resources specifically aimed at supporting the taxi and hotel industry in spotting the signs of CSE.
Councillor Ed Ruane, cabinet member for children and young people, said:
“This is an excellent way of getting the important message out about CSE. It is a complex issue and the online film picks up on this.
“A whole range of people can use the film as a learning resource – from teachers to parents, carers and young people. This will hopefully lead to them becoming more aware of this horrific crime, being able to spot the signs, and helping to keep young people and children safe.”
CSE is a crime that can affect any child, anytime, regardless of their social or ethnic background. It is child abuse and involves perpetrators grooming their victims in various ways, such as in person, via mobiles or online, to gain their trust before emotionally and sexually abusing them.
It can take place in many forms, whether through a seemingly consensual relationship, or a young person being forced to have sex in return for some kind of payment, such as drugs, money, gifts or even protection and affection.
Nick Page, chief executive of Solihull Council and regional CSE lead, said:
“We need to protect our children and young people from this horrendous crime. This new interactive film is an innovative way to raise awareness and engage young people in finding out more and giving them the knowledge to help protect themselves from abuse.
“Preventing CSE is everyone’s responsibility and it is important we can all recognise the signs.
“I would encourage parents, carers, schools and businesses to take a look at www.seeme-hearme.org.uk where, as well as this fantastic film, there is a wealth of help, advice and resources to help protect our children and young people across the region.”
To report any CSE concerns, call the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency or Coventry Social Care on 024 7678 8555 or out of hours on 024 7683 2222.
To find out more about the dangers of sexual exploitation visit www.seeme-hearme.org.uk
Children and young people can call or text confidentially for FREE 24/7 on the national helpline 116 000.