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24 - Sexual exploitation campaign goes big and bold to spread the word

Digital display on the M6

A campaign to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation is going big and bold on a key motorway route to spread the word about this hidden crime.

Motorists travelling through the M6/M5 junction this bank holiday weekend will see the message ‘Could this be your child?’ on a large digital motorway sign.

Aimed at parents, the digital display, which can be seen both north and southbound, highlights warning signs they need to be aware of to help them identify concerns.

The motorway message is part 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:  

“Child sexual exploitation is a horrific crime which has been hidden for far too long. We want to get the message out loud and clear that we all need to make ourselves aware of signs of abuse to help protect young people in our region.

“Over the bank holiday weekend, hundreds of thousands of motorists will be travelling along this key route and it’s a great opportunity for us to spread the word.

“The digital display highlights the signs of abuse parents need to be aware of and also promotes our campaign website www.seeme-hearme.org.uk which people can visit for more information.”

The digital display runs alongside a digital media campaign directly targeting young people with the message ‘Do you know what your friend’s doing?’, 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.

Posters also feature at Birmingham’s New Street Station.

Nick Page, chief executive of Solihull Council and regional lead for CSE added:

“The motorway digital display and our digital media campaign directly targeting young people are the focus of our summer campaign to raise awareness of the signs of CSE.

Sexual exploitation of children and young people thrives on ignorance, manipulation and vulnerability. No-one in the West Midlands should suffer this crime and the bullies, abusers and perpetrators need to be held to account.

“Tackling CSE is everyone’s responsibility, so we’re using an innovative mix of media to get our message out about the warning signs to help keep our children safe.

“We know thousands of people have already visited our website in the first two weeks of the campaign and I’m sure following the bank holiday this figure will rise further.”

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.

News Release Contact Information

Katherine Finney - pressoffice@dudley.gov.uk - 01384 815219