A new assessment tool to help nursing staff protect children from sexual exploitation was launched this week by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
The assessment tool has been designed to assist staff to identify children who are at risk of, or are experiencing child sexual exploitation.
It is intended to make it easier for them to identify the vulnerabilities and warning signs shown by children and young people.
The tool was launched on Wednesday to mark Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day.
“This tool will help staff recognise those vital signs that children give”
Emma Cox, named nurse for safeguarding children at the trust, said: “Children at risk of sexual exploitation are some of the most vulnerable in society.
“Many have experienced abandonment or have suffered from physical and mental abuse,” she said. “They need help but don’t know where to look.
“This tool will help staff recognise those vital signs that children give but might not have the confidence to share,” she added.
She told Nursing Times that the trust’s safeguarding children team had developed a risk assessment tool to enable health professionals to “intervene appropriately” in cases of suspected or actual child sexual exploitation.
The tool was developed from national and local research in an attempt to raise the awareness of the issue and enable health professionals to respond, with potential referral to an appropriate local authority pathway.
The tool will be shared with staff across the organisation and through local health and social care networks, the trust said.