CHILD sex abuse is happening in Warwickshire – that was the stark message from police chiefs as they launched a new bid to tackle the problem this week.
The Something’s Not Right campaign is a partnership between Warwickshire Police, Warwickshire County Council and other key organisations aimed at helping to families, friends and the public identify the signs a young person may be being abused and report it.
Det Insp Nigel Jones, who heads up the child sexual exploitation service for Warwickshire Police, said he feared the number of children being sexually abused was higher than current estimates suggested.
“There are various figures on the scale of child sexual exploitation in Warwickshire, but in reality these are all estimates, and probably below what the reality is.
“We are determined to stop children being abused and exploited, to prevent harm to those being abused, bring justice to all those who commit such abhorrent crimes, and to ensure the public are confident to come forward when they require our help.
“The young person involved might not even be aware what is happening, so it might be a school friend, a parent, a taxi driver or a teacher who spots what is happening and helps bring an end to the exploitation.”
The Something’s Not Right campaign launched with a new video featuring the story of a young girl called Alex who is abused – and pop star Ed Sheeran has allowed his track Photograph to be used on it free of charge.
It encourages people to spot signs of sexual abuse – including a child suddenly receiving a lot of text messages, being given a lot of gifts or missing school.
And it urges people to report anything they think might be suspicious.
Warwickshire County Council leader, Coun Izzi Seccombe, said: “Child sexual exploitation is a form of sexual abuse that can affect any child, anytime, anywhere – regardless of their social or ethnic background. It is something that we all need to be aware of and take action when we see the signs.”
Anyone with concerns can call 01926 684490 or visit http://warwickshirecse.co.uk and speak to someone in confidence.
Ed Sheeran is helping the fight against child abuse in Warwickshire. (s)