Young people are encouraged to look out for signs of grooming and sexual exploitation among their friends in a digital media campaign launching today (Aug 1).
Using the message ‘Do you know what your friend’s doing’, it highlights key warning signs to help young people identify concerns and get help.
Developed in consultation with young people, it will be delivered primarily through popular gaming, entertainment and mobile messaging apps, as well as social media and online magazines.
Using a mix of animations and banners, it will target young people and get the message across to them through the digital platforms they use.
Motorists will also see a version of the campaign on a large digital roadside screen at the junction of the M6 and M5 and posters will feature at Birmingham’s New Street station.
It is the latest phase of the See Me, Hear Me campaign from West Midlands councils and West Midlands Police to raise awareness of CSE.
“We want them to know the signs of sexual exploitation so they can identify any concerns and get help.
“CSE is a hidden crime, which affects both young men and women. By calling on them to look out for their friends we can help keep young people safe.
“I would also urge young people to check out our website www.seeme-hearme.org.uk to find out more.”
The website has also been refreshed to reflect the new campaign, featuring the new material for people to download.
It is a one-stop shop for information about CSE and how to spot the warning signs, along with help and advice for young people, parents and carers, professionals and schools.
Nick Page, chief executive of Solihull Council and regional lead for CSE added:
“Child sexual exploitation is a horrendous crime. Awareness is growing, but it’s crucial we reach the young people who may be targeted by perpetrators as well as the perpetrators themselves.
“By delivering the campaign through popular gaming and apps, as well as social media and online magazines we can directly give young people the knowledge they need to help them protect themselves and their friends.”
The campaign will be running across the region throughout August.
Anyone who is concerned about the safety of a young person should call West Midlands Police on 101, speak in confidence to Barnardo’s on 0121 359 5333 or in an emergency call 999.
Childline also have counsellors available online at www.childline.org.uk
People can find out more information about child sexual exploitation by visiting www.seeme-hearme.org.uk