An innovative training package is being launched this month to help healthcare professionals across the UK to “consider the signs and explore the issues around child sexual exploitation (CSE)”.
The training, which will be available nationally to nurses, has been developed by the safeguarding team from Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group.
“We are committed to preventing this horrific abuse of children and young people”
According to a report published in 2015, 1.3 million children and young people in England will have been subjected to sexual exploitation or abuse by the age of 18 – equivalent to one child in 20.
In response to the need to tackle the problem on a local and national level, the CCG has worked in partnership with the Children’s Society and NHS England to develop the CSE Superhero Campaign.
The campaign materials include a training film and accompanying toolkit aimed at enabling health professionals to identify the signs and indicators of CSE and to improve practice to safeguard children.
The training film, titled Know the Signs, stars Josie Lawrence and was produced by Chatback, a group of looked-after and birth children of foster carers.
The training package will be available from 21 June for all health professionals nationally via the CCG’s website.
“We all need to work together to spot the early warning signs of CSE”
The project will be launched on the same date at an event for healthcare professionals and multi-agency colleagues at West Bromwich Albion football stadium.
The event will also mark the beginning of an academic research evaluation by the University of Birmingham.
Professor Nick Harding, chair of Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG, said: “We are committed to preventing this horrific abuse of children and young people.
“I would recommend that all health professionals take this training to ensure that they become more aware of CSE, recognise the signs and refer to agencies that can safeguard children,” he said.
‘The CSE Superhero theme was developed in response to a challenge at a national safeguarding conference by the mother and brother of a young woman who was murdered trying to help a friend who was a victim of CSE,” he noted.
Nurses urged to train to help tackle child sexual exploitation
Professor Harding said the call from the victim’s family was “for health professionals to become superheroes and help tackle CSE”.
“Our safeguarding team felt extremely passionate about working to make this a reality and, therefore, I am very pleased to announce that the training is now ready to be launched,” he added.
Rob Willoughby, area director for the Children’s Society in the Midlands, said: “We have witnessed too many stories of children becoming victims of CSE and the subsequent trauma it causes in their lives.
“We all need to work together to spot the early warning signs of CSE,” he said. “Training health professionals and giving them guidance and advice is an incredibly important step in preventing young victims falling through the cracks.
“The Superhero Campaign is an excellent training initiative and we hope these materials will equip professionals working on the frontline to help protect many more children from this horrendous abuse,” he added.