South Tyneside council bosses join bid to beat child exploitation

Help tackle child exploitation this weekend.
Help tackle child exploitation this weekend.

Councillors in South Tyneside have pledged their support to exploited children.

To mark Child Exploitation Awareness Day on Saturday, they have written pledges on their hands to show support for the Helping Hands campaign.

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a form of sexual abuse that involves the manipulation or coercion of young people under the age of 18 into sexual activity.

National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day aims to highlight the issue and encourage people to spot and speak out against this type of child abuse.

It also aims to foster a zero tolerance approach towards adults developing inappropriate relationships with children or children developing inappropriate relationships with other children.

Coun Joan Atkinson, lead member for children, young people and families at South Tyneside Council, said: “Sexual exploitation devastates young lives and can leave its victims scarred for life.

“By raising awareness of this campaign we hope to educate and help eradicate the sexual exploitation of children.”

To raise awareness of the issue, key messages about CSE are being displayed on all public building plasma screens and literature has been distributed to local sports centres and groups in a bid to encourage people to participate in the making of a pledge and posting it up on the social media #HelpingHands site.

Coun Moira Smith, chairwoman of the South Tyneside Community Safety Partnership, added: “Child sexual exploitation is an abhorrent crime and we are committed to working with our partners to keep our young people safe.”

To pledge support for the campaign, post your photo on social media with the hashtag #HelpingHands.