National CSE Awareness Day – spot the signs to keep children safe

Buckinghamshire County Council and its partners on the Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board are calling for people to make sure they can spot the signs of abuse, so we can all do our bit to keep children safe against child sexual exploitation (CSE).

This call comes to mark National CSE Awareness Day 2019 on Monday, 18 March.

CSE is a form of sexual abuse that involves the manipulation and/or coercion of children under the age of 18 into sexual activity. The better we are at spotting the signs of CSE, the more we can do to protect children at risk.

National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day encourages all of us to think, spot and speak out against abuse and to adopt a zero tolerance approach to adults developing inappropriate relationships with children.

Child sexual exploitation can happen when a child is tricked or forced into doing something sexual in return for something – like attention, money, drugs, gifts or alcohol. It is illegal, although children might not always see it that way because they are groomed and manipulated by their abusers. By the time the child realises something is wrong, they may feel trapped – too frightened or ashamed to tell other people. Online grooming and exploitation is another very real danger – helping young people stay safe on the internet is more important than ever.

You can support the national campaign via social media by writing a personal pledge on your hand, taking a photo and posting it on social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – please use the hashtags #HelpingHands and #CSEDay19.

This year you can also ‘wear red’ on 18 March to show your support and help spread the word to reduce the abuse of children.

Fran Gosling-Thomas, Chair of Buckinghamshire’s Safeguarding Children Board said: “Grooming and sexual exploitation can happen to any child or young person, both in real-life and online, and it is vital that we can recognise the warning signs. The safeguarding of children and young people in Bucks is everyone’s responsibility, so please stay alert to the signs of child sexual exploitation. We can all play a part in keeping our children safe.”

Warren Whyte, Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, added:
“If you see something that doesn’t seem right, please don’t assume someone else will report it. Contact our Children’s Social Care team, or talk to someone about it. It could be nothing – but it may also save a child from becoming a victim of exploitation.”

Please visit the Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board website to find out more about spotting the signs of CSE and who to report any concerns to.

Find out more about National CSE Awareness Day

How to get help or report a concern:
If you are concerned about a young person you can contact the First Response Team (Children’s Social Care) on 01296 383962 or email:

If you think a child or young person is in immediate danger call 999. Alternatively contact your local police on 101 who will have a dedicated team you can talk to about child sexual exploitation.

Buckinghamshire also has a countywide ‘R-U-Safe?’ service for young people run by Barnardo’s, which is able to offer advice and support to any young person worried about these issues. Email:, text 07546 075 638 or

ChildLine also offers support directly to children and young people – contact them on 0800 1111 or visit their