In aid of National Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Awareness Day Leicestershire Police have introduced two new ways for people to support CEASE and commit to tackling the crime.
Previously CEASE, also known as the Commitment to Eradicate Abuse and Sexual Exploitation, released a pledge on Safer Internet Day 2016 which took place on Tuesday 9th February. They worked with organisations helping to encourage young people to stay safe online.
Within 72 hours of the launch of the CEASE pledge site 400 people had already signed the pledge.
Chief constable Simon Cole said: “Through the CEASE pledge we have begun to make good progress in asking people to do what they can to help eradicate this crime.”
Now you can also help to support the campaign by texting CEASE to 87007 as well as signing a CEASE hand which will be distributed across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland in places such as libraries, doctors’ surgeries and community centres.
The signed hands will be placed on display in public areas to represent the community’s commitment to the cause.
The CEASE campaign aims to raise awareness of CSE itself and also the signs that it may be happening. It has also been created to raise awareness amongst the greater public to increase the reporting of offences and the prosecution of offenders.
David Jones, chair of the Leicester Safeguarding Children Board, said: “It’s vitally important that we protect young people from this abuse. Teachers, social workers, foster carers and taxi drivers are all being trained on how to spot the signs of CSE, but it’s also an issue that the wider community needs to be aware of. CSE is everyone’s business.”
Since the original 400 pledges last month the campaign has received more than 700 online pledges which includes commitments from celebrities such as Gary Lineker, actress Parminder Nagra and BBC Apprentice star Melody Houssaini.
The campaign has been widely supported by representatives from Leicester’s force, councils, health and other local agencies who have had their hands photographed with the pledge’s hashtag #LLRCEASE alongside the number to text. They also included other messages that backed the initiative.
The pledge has also had support from X Factor winner Sam Bailey, Goalkeeper for Leicester City Mark Schwarzar and Leicester Tigers players Tom Croft, Sam Harrison, Freddie Burns and Oli Bryant.
Simon Cole also said: “We hope the launch of the text service and the signing of hands will make it even easier for people to show their support. The display will visually show Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland’s on-going commitment and help to ensure that the momentum for this campaign continues.”
Today is the national awareness day which is run by the charity NWG Network. The charity aims to highlight all of the issues involved with CSE and encourages people to adopt a zero tolerance approach to inappropriate relationships between adults and children.
Paul Burnett, independent chair of the Leicestershire and Rutland Safeguarding Children Board, said: “CSE is an abhorrent crime we remain committed to tackling it.
“By working together local agencies have made real progress, including launching a multi-agency CSE team, which is already securing convictions. But importantly, CEASE and the other 12 projects will enable us to do more to prevent CSE, protect and provide for those at risk, pursue and prosecute perpetrators and strengthen our partnership.”
CEASE, which is one of 12 separate multi-agency projects, is funded by Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Clive Loader in order to protect the vulnerable. It helps to build on the progress already made by other projects around Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
Sir Clive announced last summer that he would make £2m available to fund innovative projects such as CEASE that were aimed at enhancing the work that is already being done to tackle CSE. He described CSE as “an insidious and wicked crime against the most vulnerable in society.”
He added: “Sadly, it remains an inescapable fact that exploitation is all too often a ‘hidden crime’ due to reluctance on the part of the victim, or those close to them, to come forward. It’s so important that those who have suffered this type of abuse, or who fear they are at risk of exploitation, report it. They can do this either to the police or another support organisation where they can get help, and whichever route, they can be assured that they will be treated with respect and sensitivity.
“CEASE is already showing its potential to make a real difference with its joined-up approach to tackling the problem with other local agencies. But everyone has a responsibility and I urge people not to turn a blind eye, but to be aware of the signs and alive to the issue – and to speak on behalf of others.”
The two new branches for people to show their support for the issues around CSE are incredibly easy as the community are encouraged to get on board by simply sending a text or signing their name.
Materials for young people, parents, carers and businesses, including the signs to look out for, are available at:
Leicester Safeguarding Children Board http://www.lcitylscb.org/
Leicestershire & Rutland Safeguarding Children Board http://lrsb.org.uk/children
Anyone who has concerns about a child is urged not to keep any worries to themselves. They should contact the police on 101 for non-emergencies or 999 if they are concerned a child is in immediate danger.
Texts to support CEASE will be charged at the rate of a standard text message.