This week Stockport’s Child Sexual Exploitation team will be distributing information to parents and carers about signs to look out for which might be an indication that a child is being groomed for sexual exploitation and where they can go for help if they are concerned about the behaviour of their child.
Those who wish to exploit children use a number of approaches. Most grooming starts on-line with the intention of enticing the child to send sexual images or with the aim of arranging a meeting for sex.
Sometimes children are exploited by groups of men trafficked to different places, sometimes the sexual offences against the child take place at parties. The child can feel reluctant to say what has happened because they feel they might be blamed because they have been drinking or they feel people might think they have consented.
Sometimes those who exploit children are only in their late teens themselves. Although the majority of victims are girls, boys can also be victims. There is still too much blaming of the child for their exploitation. A child is a child whatever they dress like and it is those that exploit the vulnerability of childhood that should be held responsible.
Exploitation of the immaturity of children for sexual gain no matter what form that takes is a vicious offence. For the victim it can lead to lifelong trauma.
It is much better to prevent the exploitation in the first place. This looks like a great week of action by the police and other professionals with different events to inform and support parents and carers including in Cale Green Park on Saturday.
Protecting our children needs well informed parents and a watchful community. We all have a responsibility to keep children safe.