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.
Stockport MP Ann Coffey visited Stockport’s local cancer care charity, Beechwood, in Cale Green, and caught up on their news.
Beechwood offers support to people living with cancer and other life limiting illnesses, and to their families. By the year 2020 Beechwood will have been helping people for 30 years.
During the time she has been MP for Stockport, Ann Coffey has visited Beechwood many times. As part of her visit this time she toured the building and met volunteers, staff, and service users, and heard about advancements in the family therapy and support service.
Linda Steggles, Chief Executive Officer of Beechwood, said:
“It’s exciting to be part of the Beechwood team and to collaborate with the healthcare network across the region in the vision for cancer care and other life limiting illnesses. Since 1990 the charity has been committed to providing innovative and outstanding care to those who access its services, and I’m looking forward to leading the charity towards its 30th anniversary and its next phase.”
Ann Coffey said:
“It was great to catch up with Beechwood and meet the new CEO, Linda. Chatting to some of the people who meet regularly at Beechwood, it seemed to me that one of the greatest benefits comes from being in a friendly environment where they can simply talk and form friendships with others who understand their situation.”
To find out more about the support, services and activities offered by Beechwood, go to http://www.beechwoodcancercare.org.uk/
Photo: Ann Coffey at Beechwood Cancer Care, Chelford Grove, Stockport SK3 8LS, with (left to right) Colette Kelly, Deputy Clinical Manager, Linda Steggles, CEO, Lorraine Fairclough, Community & Volunteer Manager, Sandra Sinclair, Trustee
Across our Greater Manchester conurbation it’s important that train services are reliable, comfortable to use and run to a timetable which meets the needs of passengers, including commuters who want to get to work on time.
It does not seem too much to ask. However, with the introduction of new timetables this week, Northern Rail passengers in Stockport are facing a reduced service, with chaotic timetabling of trains to Manchester from Davenport, Woodsmoor and Heaton Chapel station. This is very frustrating – especially as Northern Rail has been promising big improvements to the service with an end to severe overcrowding and delays.
People see the sense in using public transport to avoid traffic congestion, and this is reflected in the increased numbers of rail passengers. Heaton Chapel, for example, is one of the busiest stations in Greater Manchester, with over 800,000 passengers a year. And they expect a decent service, rather than trains cut from four an hour to three an hour in the morning rush hour, and all three trains bunched together within a 15 minute window.
The reduced timetable is due to a delay in electrification of the Manchester to Preston line by Network Rail, which now won’t be delivered until later this year. I wrote to the Rail Minister, Jo Johnson, expressing concern about the impact of this on my constituents, who are now suffering cuts in their local services at peak times.
The Minister has written back and assured me that the cuts to train services will be reversed in time for the December timetables. I do hope he is right about that, because so far I have been disappointed with unfulfilled promises from the rail industry. However, I welcome the Minister’s reassurance and I will be monitoring this latest pledge closely. I just feel sorry for my constituents who are having to endure commuter hell between now and Christmas.