Rotherham standing together for National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness DayPublished Friday, 18th March 2016
People in Rotherham are being encouraged to show their support for National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day (18 March).
A number of events are being held across the borough to highlight the issues around child sexual exploitation (CSE) and to urge everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse.
Barnado’s ReachOut Bus will be located outside Boots in the town centre on Friday 18 March from 2pm. Staff will be on hand to offer information and guidance on child sexual exploitation.
People will be encouraged to support the national social media campaign (#helpinghands) by posting a photo of their thoughts written on their hands. They will also be encouraged to sign up to the Rotherham Standing Together pledge. There will also be information to help people spot the signs of child sexual exploitation and where to go to access support for victims and survivors.
South Yorkshire Police will also be holding a CSE information stall at Rotherham Interchange from 3pm on Friday and Barnardo’s will be holding a stall at Barnsley Interchange with local PCSOs between 11am and 2pm on Saturday 19 March.
Jo Smith, Child Sexual Exploitation Co-ordinator at Rotherham Borough Council, said: "We work very closely with the National Working Group, who have organised this awareness day, so we’re in full support of the campaign’s messages.
"We’re also proud to work closely with Barnado’s who are hosting the ReachOut bus in the centre of town to educate and raise awareness in the borough around child sexual exploitation.
"It’s part of our work to make sure people are aware of the signs to look out for, and know what help and support that is available for victims and survivors of child sexual exploitation."
Leader of the Council Chris Read said: "National CSE Awareness Day is an important day to raise awareness together up and down the country. People need to be aware of the signs to look for and understand what help is available, today is about getting that message across."
Commander for Rotherham’s Local Policing Unit Chief Superintendent Jason Harwin said: "As a partnership, we are committed to the protection of children from harm and National Awareness Day is an ideal opportunity to increase further recognition of this type of abuse.
"We will have officers out with the ReachOut Bus alongside our colleagues in Barnardo’s and Rotherham Council, as well as a stall in the Interchange, so if you have any questions or need any advice, please come along and talk to us."
Donna Peach, lecturer in social work at the University of Salford, said: "Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a topic that nobody likes to discuss. No-one wants to think about what child sex abuse and exploitation really means and the global enduring issue of abuse of children highlights this.
"However, having worked in Rotherham recently, an area still affected by CSE, I am delighted to have witnessed first-hand the concentrated effort shown from both the Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) and the local community in tackling this issue head-on.
"Rotherham is still healing from its past but there are already signs of pride being restored to the town and this is down to the hard work being carried out by RMBC and the South Yorkshire Police.
"There is a distinctive ethos now felt throughout the town that protecting children is everybody’s responsibility and Rotherham can now lead by example across the UK in how we as a country can help to prevent any further horrific abuse in the future."