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Child Exploitation Awareness Day

Published Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Wednesday 18 March marks Child Exploitation Awareness Day, which aims to raise awareness of the signs of a child being exploited, as well as how to help prevent or report it.

All agencies across Coventry are committed to safeguarding children and young people from being exploited. Some common forms of child exploitation include sexual (CSE), child trafficking, modern slavery, radicalisation and violent extremism and criminal exploitation (for example County Lines).

The Coventry Partnership will be supporting Child Exploitation Awareness Day with a focus upon Child Sexual Exploitation.

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a form of sexual abuse. It occurs when 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 technology (e.g. sending explicit photos). Often, victims are not aware they are being exploited and so cannot protect themselves.

Watch a video to find out more

Signs that a young person may be being sexually exploited

The following risk factors might increase the likelihood of a young person being sexually exploited:

  • Going missing for periods of time or regularly returning home late
  • Regularly missing school or not taking part in education
  • Appearing with unexplained gifts or possessions
  • Associating with other young people involved in exploitation
  • Being in a controlling relationship
  • Suffering from sexually transmitted infections
  • Uncharacteristic and significant mood swings or changes in emotional wellbeing
  • Drug and alcohol misuse
  • Spending time in CSE hotspots
  • Being secretive
  • Changes in behaviour
  • Self-harming
  • Suspected pregnancies
  • Displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviour
  • Use of mobile phone and internet that causes concern
  • Involved with or linked to gang activity.

What to do if you suspect Child Sexual Exploitation

If you think a child is at risk, then in an emergency always call the Police on 999.

For a non-emergency concern, call the Police on 101 or call The Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub on 024 7678 8555 or out of hours 024 7683 2222.

Find out more information about The Coventry Safeguarding Children Partnership or take a look at the work of Coventry’s Horizon Team.

Visit the See Me Hear Me website to find out what’s being done to tackle Child Sexual Exploitation in the West Midlands 

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