Ealing joined councils and police forces across the country to mark the event by asking the public to write a personal pledge against child sexual exploitation on their hands.
Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a form of sexual abuse that involves the manipulation or coercion of young people under the age of 18 into sexual activity.
The NWG Network charity, the event’s organiser wants people to become more aware of the problem so that they can spot the signs of CSE and speak out against it.
Councillor Binda Rai, cabinet member for children and young people made her own pledge against CSE which she wrote on her hands and posted on social media using the hashtag #helpinghands
Officers from Ealing Council and partners from Ealing Safeguarding Children’s Board, including the NHS and police also set up an information stall outside Ealing Town Hall where they offered advice on how to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation and tips on internet safety for children and parents.
The team has also produced a new leaflet on CSE for parents which was given out on the day and is available at children’s centres, schools and doctors’ surgeries.
- Having mood swings and/or self-harming
- Chatting online to people they have never met
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Having unexplained gifts, or money
- Being in a relationship or meeting up with an older person
- More or secretive mobile phone and computer use or having multiple phones
- Sending or posting sexual pictures online
The council’s youth centres also got involved by holding relationship and online safety workshops for teenagers, debates on CSE and by showing the BAFTA award-winning BBC drama Murdered By My Boyfriend about a young woman in an abusive relationship.
Councillor Rai said: “We all have a part to play in keeping children and young people safe. This type of abuse can happen to any child or young person, regardless of their background yet quite often victims may not even recognise it as abuse or they may not want to talk about it for a variety of reasons. That is why everyone needs to be more aware of the signs of this type of abuse and speak out if they have any concerns.”