National CSE Awareness Day – helping to keep children safe from exploitation

Pledge your support and know the signs of abuse to help keep all children safe against child sexual exploitation – that’s the call from Buckinghamshire’s Safeguarding Children Board to mark National CSE Awareness day on Sunday 18 March.

National CSE Awareness day aims to highlight the issue of child sexual exploitation by encouraging everyone to think about, spot the signs and speak out against all forms of child exploitation and abuse.

You can show your support for the national campaign via social media by writing a personal pledge on your hand, taking a photo and posting it to your facebook, twitter, instagram or other social media account using the hashtags #HelpingHands and #CSEDay18. Search the hashtags to see examples.

Child sexual exploitation is a form of sexual abuse that happens when a child or young person is tricked or forced into doing something sexual in return for things like attention, money, drugs, gifts or alcohol. It is illegal, although young people might not always see it that way, because they are groomed and manipulated by their abusers. Over time, abusers can manipulate a child to do things they think they are enjoying or things they are ashamed of. By the time the child realises there is something wrong, they can feel trapped and be too frightened or ashamed to tell anyone.

Safeguarding Board partners are running an information stall at Friars Square shopping centre in Aylesbury on Monday 12 March between 3pm and 5pm to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation, giving the public advice on how to spot warning signs and how to report concerns about a child.

Fran Gosling-Thomas, Chair of Buckinghamshire’s Safeguarding Children Board said: “We are pleased to support this very important campaign in Buckinghamshire. Grooming and sexual exploitation can happen to any child or young person, both in real-life face to face situations and online, with online grooming playing an increasingly large part in exploitation. The safeguarding of our children and young people in Buckinghamshire is everyone’s responsibility, and it is essential that people stay alert to the signs of child sexual exploitation so that we can all play our part in helping to keep children safe.”

A parent of a Buckinghamshire child affected by child sexual exploitation is urging people to ensure they are well-informed: “Several years ago, my child was a victim of abuse through child sexual exploitation. In 2018, this abuse is still happening, in Bucks.

“In the time it’s taken me to write these words, how many children across Buckinghamshire are being directly affected by this form of abuse? It’s all our communities’ responsibility to educate themselves, understand the process of grooming and where we see it occurring, report it so a child does not have to suffer a moment longer. These children could be anyone’s child. Mine, yours, a family member, your child’s best friend from school, anyone.

“Child Sexual Exploitation isn’t going to go away by itself – we have to act and work together to make it go away. All our children deserve a future free from abuse or exploitation. Only working together as a whole community can we make that happen.”

Warren Whyte, Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, says the National Awareness Day is an ideal opportunity for people to show their support and understand more about child exploitation in order to help others: “It can be very difficult for children and young people affected by CSE to recognise what has happened to them. It’s crucial that we are all aware of the warning signs of child sexual exploitation – the more we all understand, the better we are able to protect children.

“Our message is simple: if you see something that doesn’t seem right, say something. Contact our Children’s Social Care team, or talk to someone about it. It may be nothing but it may also save a child from becoming a victim of exploitation.

“Tackling child sexual exploitation remains a priority for the County Council – we pledge that we will listen to you, we will support you and we will act.”

Buckinghamshire’s Safeguarding Children Board is a collaboration of agencies who work with children and young people in the county, and includes Buckinghamshire County Council, the four district councils, Thames Valley Police, Barnardo’s R U Safe, and health organisations. Together, they run a partnership CSE awareness campaign, ‘RUWise2it?’ which provides parents and the public with information on how to spot the signs of exploitation and how to report concerns. Visit to find out more.

Find out more about National CSE Awareness Day at