Raising awareness of Child Exploitation
Safe and Sound is Derbyshire’s long-established and specialist child exploitation charity. We protect and support children and young people affected by exploitation which includes online grooming, sexual exploitation, trafficking, drugs, modern slavery and radicalisation.
We also support the wider families and work across local communities to raise awareness of the dangers facing children and young people.
Part of this role is to raise awareness amongst businesses and organisations so that people from all walks of life can better understand about child exploitation, more readily recognise the early signs of grooming and hopefully have the confidence to ask for help.
Why is this issue of importance to your business?
Official research, crime figures and our own charity’s grassroots experience proves that any child or young person is at risk of exploitation – regardless of their age, sex, family situation, social or cultural background.
Therefore, you or any friend and colleague could potentially be affected by the stress and torment of child exploitation in family life which, understandably, would affect their performance at work.
What is Child Exploitation?
Child Exploitation is a devastating crime with long term, far-reaching consequences for the young person, their family, friends and the local community.
All forms of exploitation involve an imbalance of power in the relationship that allows an abuser to take advantage of a young person. This may be due to a disability, a difference in age or because they hold something a young person wants or needs – money, alcohol, or affection are just some examples.
Exploitation often begins without the victim realising – a process known as ‘grooming’. This is when the abuser builds a relationship, trust and emotional connections with the young person so that they can manipulate them later to do what they want whether that is sexual, drug-related or other involvement in criminal activity. 70-80% of grooming starts online.
The end result is that a child can be trapped in their situation with blackmail, guilt or simply being too frightened to tell anyone. Many do not understand they’ve been groomed, so can often experience conflicted feelings of loyalty, admiration and love alongside fear, distress and confusion.
What you can do
The most important thing that every parent and carer can do in this digital age is to put in place the highest privacy settings on a young person’s social media channels as online grooming is fast becoming a perpetrators first port of call to target a child or young person.
Please visit our website www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk to learn more about privacy settings, the danger signs or exploitation and what help and support is available to young people and families.
Book an awareness workshop for your staff. These can take an hour- two hours and can be recorded for wider circulation within your organisation.
Thank you for taking the time to read this briefing and I hope that you agree that raising awareness of Child Exploitation is an important part of your overall efforts to safeguard the well-being of yourself and your colleagues.
CEO, Safe and Sound