POLICE and partners in Sussex joined forces to support the National Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Awareness Day.
The day was aimed at highlighting the issues surrounding child sexual exploitation –encouraging everyone to think, spot and speak out against exploitation and abuse.
It is to encourage the adoption of a zero tolerance approach to anyone developing inappropriate relationships with young people.
To tackle CSE and raise awareness of the warning signs, Chelsea’s Choice, a theatre production, will be touring across schools in the county.
The play they will perform is designed to help spot the signs of sexual exploitation and promote how young people can protect themselves from this kind of abuse.
The national awareness day follows the launch of Operation Kite with partners in Sussex in 2014, which helped to increase intelligence and reports to police, social services and the third sector.
Detective Chief Inspector Miles Ockwell, public protection said: “Child sexual exploitation is child abuse, pure and simple.
“It is perpetrated against young men and women irrespective of background.
“What makes it so difficult to tackle is the fact that many young people who are being abused believe they are in a consensual relationship.”
Sussex Police and crime commissioner, Katy Bourne added: “No child should ever be the victim of this kind of horrific abuse and agencies that work with children have a collective responsibility to work together to stamp it out.
“To support the fight against sexual abuse I have put funding in place for a new post within Sussex Police that will see the role-holder work directly with partners to build a ‘rich picture’ of intelligence gathering information from the police, education, health, and social care, to help safeguard vulnerable children.”
More information on child sexual exploitation and how to report it is available at http://www.sussex.police.uk/help-centre/ask-us/child-sexual-exploitation/what-is-child-sexual-exploitation.