Today is National CSE Awareness Day. For those of you not aware, CSE stands for Child Sexual Exploitation. Written down in its full form it's a terrifying combination of words which should never need to be put together, but sadly it is a very real danger and one which can, and does affect many young people and their families.
Young people from all walks of life can become victims of CSE, boys and girls, and yes, even children from nice, well adjusted families. The most frightening part is the control that their abuser has over them, so as parents it is vital that we know what to look out for, so that if we are unfortunate enough to come across it, we are able to tackle it in it's early stages.
The abuser may approach the child directly or they may use another child, male or female to approach the victim and befriend them. They will groom their chosen victim, showering them with compliments, gifts, money etc, making them feel good about themselves and special, all the time gaining their trust. This is why it is so important to familiarise yourself with the first signs, because once the child's trust has been gained, you the parent, will very quickly be vilified. Perpetrators of CSE are clever and manipulative, and they will turn your child against everyone, family, friend and professionals who will try to rescue their victim.
So today, I am asking you, no begging you, if you are a parent, please visit the Stop CSE website and read each and every part of it. I know you're sitting there thinking, I haven't got time to read that I've got to get this child to football, that child to dance and the other one to meet their friend in town, but can you afford not to? And once you've done that, please spread the word, share the link to the Stop CSE website on your Facebook and Twitter accounts, Snapchat it, Instagram it, just please share and let's save our children and young people from this hideous crime. You can also complete a free online course designed for parents with PACE (Parents Against Child sexual Exploitation) by clicking here.