New school term sees Havering Council issue child sexual exploitation warning to parents
PUBLISHED: 12:14 02 October 2017
Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images
With the new school year just beginning, Havering Council wishes to remind parents to pay close attention to who their children are talking to, as child sexual exploitation can occur anywhere.
Many children and teenagers may have made new friends over the summer and enjoyed more time out of the house.
But as the evenings get darker and children spend more of their time online, parents need to be aware of who is contacting them and what information they are sharing.
Abuse can happen through a phone, app or online game, when children are in a group setting, with people we trust and even in a fun relaxed environment.
Child sexual exploitation is when a young person receives something such as food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, gifts or money as part of a grooming process leading to abuse.
Young people often don’t recognise that what is happening is abuse. Child sexual exploitation happens to boys and girls.
The signs could include strange phone calls and messages on their phones or on social media, your child bringing home new and expensive items and can’t explain how they got them, a new circle of friends or go missing from home or school.
Cabinet member of children’s and learning Councillor Robert Benham said: “Over the recent months, there has been increased awareness on child sexual exploitation through Eastenders, Coronation Street and the BBC drama Three Girls as well as recent national news coverage.
“Various programmes highlighted that child sexual exploitation does not always happen in dark or isolated locations.
“It can happen in everyday places, town centres, via a partner or even whilst your child or teenager is at home.
“Parents should be aware that online sexual exploitation is a growing concern in London and Essex.”
If you are a concerned parent, carer or young person, visit ceop.gov.uk, call police on 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org