A website raising awareness of child sexual exploitation has received almost 6,000 hits in the first two weeks of a new digital media campaign.
The ‘Do you know what your friend’s doing’ campaign launched on August 1, encouraging young people to look out for signs of grooming and sexual exploitation among their friends.
Developed in consultation with young people, it is being delivered primarily through popular gaming, entertainment and mobile messaging apps used by young people, as well as social media and online magazines.
Using a mix of animations and banners, it highlights key warning signs to help young people identify concerns and get help.
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.
Councillor Ian Cooper, Dudley Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, said:
“There has been a tremendous response to the latest phase of our See Me, Hear Me campaign.
“The number of visits to our website has increased massively during the first two weeks of this new campaign, which shows it’s having a real impact.
“CSE is a horrific hidden crime, which affects both young men and women. By targeting the digital platforms they use we are raising awareness of the signs of sexual exploitation to help them identify any concerns and get help.
“We want them to know the signs of sexual exploitation so they can look out for their friends.
“I would encourage everyone to check out our website www.seeme-hearme.org.uk to find out more.”
Motorists can also see a version of the campaign on a large digital roadside screen at the junction of the M6 and M5 and posters feature at Birmingham’s New Street Station.
The campaign is running across the region throughout August. www.seeme-hearme.org.uk 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.
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
Notes to editors
The See Me, Hear Me campaign was launched in June 2014 by Dudley, Wolverhampton, Sandwell, Walsall, Coventry, Birmingham and Solihull councils, along with West Midlands Police, to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation.
CSE can affect any child, anytime, regardless of their social or ethnic background. It is child abuse and involves perpetrators grooming their victims in various ways, such as in person, via mobiles or online, to gain their trust before emotionally and sexually abusing them.
It can take place in many forms, whether through a seemingly consensual relationship, or a young person being forced to have sex in return for some kind of payment, such as drugs, money, gifts or even protection and affection.
Warning signs of CSE include having friends who are older, persistently going missing, secretive relationships with unknown adults, truancy from school, chronic fatigue, constant calls on a mobile phone and the possession of money or new things.