Bringing a ‘hidden crime’ into the open

The child's phone that is used to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation in current TV ad campaign
The child's phone that is used to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation in current TV ad campaign

North Lanarkshire Council is supporting the first TV campaign in the UK to tackle child sexual exploitation.

It comes as new research shows 93 per cent of parents have heard of child sexual exploitation, but almost a third (29 per cent) know little about it and over a third (36 per cent) believe it won’t affect their family.

In 2014/15 ChildLine in Scotland provided 635 counselling sessions to children and young people worried about child sexual exploitation, with the NSPCC responding to 62 inquiries from adults in Scotland in the same period. Yet experts feel these figures may be the tip of the iceberg.

A new TV advert highlights how to spot the warning signs of this form of abuse and shows how conversations online can potentially lead to a young person placing themselves in danger.

The TV advert will run alongside outdoor advertising, partnership work with local authorities, PR and social media.

The campaign is aimed at parents and young people aged 11-17, with the message child sexual exploitation can happen to any young person, regardless of their gender or background.

A range of partners supporting the campaign include Barnardo’s Scotland, NSPCC Scotland, ChildLine, Police Scotland and Children 1st.

Alison Gordon, head of Social Work Services said: “Child sexual exploitation is a complex form of abuse in which victims are manipulated, pressurised or forced into taking part in a sexual act in exchange for receiving something - this may include gifts, money, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, or simply affection.

“It’s often a hidden crime where the child may not understand that they are a victim and so may not come forward to ask for help.

“This research shows that most parents don’t know a lot about the ways in which child sexual exploitation can take place and don’t believe that their family is at risk.

“The reality is that child sexual exploitation takes many different forms, both online and offline, and can affect any young person regardless of their gender or background.

“Parents and carers can play an important role in helping to keep young people in Scotland safe by making sure they are familiar with the signs of abuse that could indicate a child is at risk of abuse or already being affected.”

For more information about the campaign visit CSE

Thomas Saveall won the Project Spotlight Volunteer award at the Citizens Advice Scotland conference. He was presented with a silver Quaich by HRH Princess Anne. Picture - Stewart Attwood''''All images � Stewart Attwood Photography 2019.  All other rights are reserved. Use in any other context is expressly prohibited without prior permission. No Syndication Permitted.

Taylor Wimpey have confirmed directly with local Councillor Nathan Wilson that the organisation retains its commitment to building a park and ride at Shieldmuir Train Station. In response to recent enquiries made by Councillor Wilson, Taylor Wimpey have advised that engagement is taking place with Network Rail over the latter’s approval procedures and that once this process is complete, work will be able to begin on site. The developer has informed the Motherwell Councillor that during the period of investigation undertaken since the commencement of building work was delayed in January 2018, an unrecorded service chamber has been discovered on site. The project cannot move forward until further clarification is provided on the nature of the service chamber and Taylor Wimpey are in the process of commissioning a contractor to assess the situation. The developer’s initial judgement is that this is likely a redundant service. A senior representative of the organisation has also informed Councillor Wilson that a member of the Taylor Wimpey production team will be sent out to inspect the vacant land following a request he made at the beginning of 2019 for maintenance work to be carried out on site should construction of the park and ride remain some time away. Councillor Nathan Wilson said: “Taylor Wimpey have communicated to me directly that the park and ride facility is a project that the organisation remains committed to delivering. “However, it goes without saying that the lengthy delay is still very disappointing and frustrating. “An unrecorded service chamber has been identified on site and progress is unable to be made until this has been investigated. “Taylor Wimpey have relayed to me that an on-site inspection of the vacant land will take place and I hold to the view that maintenance work should be carried out in the short term to improve it’s current condition. “I will continue to engage with the relevant stakeholders and re-inforce to them the importance of the park and ride project locally. Motherwell and Wishaw CAB takes home 40 per cent of the prizes