A film showing the shocking reality of how abusers groom young people has been nominated for a Royal Television Society award.
The hard-hitting animation was created and produced by Birmingham-based Spark Media for the regional see me hear me campaign to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation, and is shortlisted in the RTS Midlands award’s short film category.
Focusing on the warning signs of this hidden crime, The Warning Signs Were There follows the story of a young girl, showing how those around her, her teacher, her friend and her dad, notice changes in her behaviour.
It then turns to the abuser who describes how he grooms her with gifts, alcohol and affection before abusing her, adding ‘the warning signs were there.’
The animation, which reached more than five million people, was released via YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter as 30-second clips, with the full version available on the campaign website www.seeme-hearme.org.uk
The awards celebrate the television and broadcasting industry across the midlands region, with the winners announced on November 20.
Councillor Sue Ridney, cabinet member for children’s services, said:
Being aware of the warning signs is one of our most effective weapons in tackling this vile crime. The film depicted the hard-hitting reality of how abusers groom young people, highlighting the signs we all need to look out for. Spark Media created a powerful film and we’re delighted they’ve been shortlisted for this award.
CSE can affect both girls and boys and being aware of the warning signs, and acting on them early, can help prevent abuse happening or escalating. I would urge people to check out our website www.seeme-hearme.org.uk to watch the film in full. The site contains a wealth of information about CSE and the warning signs to look out for, as well as signposting people to help and support.”
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.
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.
Danny Gwynne, director at Spark Media, said:
We’re incredibly proud of the recognition for this film, given how much it means to us and in light of the work and effort that went into it by everyone at Spark Media and the see me hear me campaign.
We all wanted to create something powerful but different, that could cut through and deliver its message to those who need to see it, while building awareness of the warning signs of CSE.”
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.
The campaign recently received national recognition and a Bronze Award at the Public Sector Excellence awards for its 2016/17 campaign.