People in Dudley are being urged to unite against child sexual exploitation (CSE) and make a personal pledge to help tackle the abuse.
Councils across the West Midlands, including Dudley Council, along with West Midlands Police are supporting national CSE awareness day on Saturday (March 18).
Organised by the national charity NWG Network, which is dedicated to helping combat CSE, the day aims to encourage everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse.
On the day people are asked to write a personal pledge on their hands and then post a photo of it on social media using #HelpingHands. The pledge can be anything, from speaking out, to educating others.
Dudley, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell, Solihull and Coventry councils along with the police and partner organisations are working together to raise the profile of CSE in the region through the see me, hear me campaign.
It aims to increase people’s understanding of child sexual exploitation and how to spot the warning signs in a child or young person’s behaviour that may indicate something is wrong.
Councillor Ian Cooper, cabinet member for children’s services, said:
“The national day is an opportunity for us to further increase awareness of CSE and how people can spot the warning signs.
“We’d like as many people as possible to get involved. Make a personal pledge, post a photo on social media and then act on what you’ve decided to do.
“We all have our part to play in stopping this horrendous abuse. The more aware we are of the signs, the greater chance we have to stop the abuse and protect our young people.
“Please visit www.seeme-hearme.org.uk to find out more and make your own pledge on March 18 to help stop this abuse.”
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.
To find out more about the national CSE awareness day, visit www.stop-cse.org/
Anyone who is concerned about the safety of a young person should call West Midlands Police on 101, speak in confidence to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 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
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.