South Yorkshire Police boss supports National Child Exploitation Awareness Day

South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner is urging people to spot the signs of child exploitation and to speak up.

Friday, 18th March 2022, 12:33 pm

Alan Billings made his plea today to show his support of National Child Exploitation Awareness Day, aimed at shining a light on both child criminal (CCE) and child sexual exploitation (CSE).

The day is aimed at encouraging people to acknowledge the issue, spot the potential signs, speak out against abuse and adopt a zero-tolerance approach.

Mr Billings said: “We all have a part to play in recognising and reporting child exploitation and this starts with understanding that it can happen to children of any age, from any background. It can happen in the home, in the community and, increasingly, online.

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South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Alan Billings, is supporting National Child Exploitation Awareness Day today

“Each of us must be vigilant, able to recognise the signs of child exploitation and as organisations we must work together in partnership to educate young people and offer early intervention to ensure they understand the risks and can make good decisions if approached by organised crime gangs.

“Similarly, we must help those at risk of sexual exploitation know the signs that they may be being groomed is vital in ensuring victims or potential victims get the help they need.”

In South Yorkshire, the extent of child sexual exploitation was laid bare when an independent report into the issue highlighted a particular problem in Rotherham.

It found that between 1997 and 2013, some 1,400 children were exploited and abused by gangs of men of predominantly Pakistani heritage while those in authority failed to act.