Stay safe online was the
message given out on Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day
ON Friday, 18 March 2016, as part
of Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness (CSE) Day, Merseyside Police and
other groups across the UK launched an awareness campaign urging children
and young people to stay safe online.
The aim of the national awareness day is to encourage people to look for the
signs of abuse and adopt a zero tolerance to inappropriate relationships
In this case Merseyside Police is working alongside local authorities and
partner agencies to promote awareness and a number of events have now been
held including:- school assemblies, briefings and presentations. Follwing on
from the main day, more events over the year are being planned and will be
held as part of this campaign.
This year Merseyside Police has adopted the theme of online gaming, to warn
children and young people of the dangers of being manipulated online by
strangers and alert parents, teachers and guardians to the warning signs
that children may be at risk.
Detective Superintendent Dave Brunskill from Merseyside Police's Protecting
Vulnerable People Unit said:- "Online gaming is an increasingly
popular pastime with children and young people, many of whom are given
gaming devices as gifts at Christmas or for birthdays. But some people may
not realise that games consoles such as Xbox and PlayStation are connected
to the internet and can be used for communicating as well as playing games.
The web offers a degree of anonymity to criminals intent on grooming young
people, allowing them to pretend to be someone they are not and gain trust
and build relationships with younger people in order to exploit them. These
relationships may feel like genuine friendships for that child or teenager,
but they are clearly not. It is really important that we all become more
aware of the possible risk of exploitation on social media sites and how to
report suspicious activity to the Police. Every one of us has to play our
part in putting a stop to the sexual exploitation of children and we all
need to know the signs to look for, including if they are regularly missing
school, appearing with unexplained gifts, having mood swings or becoming
secretive about their use of social media. I would also advise children and
parents to avoid going onto more obscure sites to access games and for
parents to be satisfied that they know who their children are engaging with.
If you are a child, you may think it's cool to get involved with older
people but they may ask you to perform sexual acts or take photos of
yourself in return and you may be pressured to keep these things secret. If
we all look out for these signs and report any suspicions, we can break the
Shaun McInerney, principal of The Studio, Liverpool said:- "The
Studio, Liverpool is a school for 14 to 19 year olds focused on preparing
students to be employable in the creative and digital technology sectors. We
are supporting Merseyside Police's Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day
because online safety is crucial to our students who are both consumers of
technology and also creators of it. Students here focus on the issues
surrounding the use of technology to prepare them to be the digital
entrepreneurs and digital leaders of the future economy."
Merseyside's Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said:- "National CSE Day
is an important opportunity for us all to raise awareness of the damage that
Child Sexual Exploitation causes and of the potential warning signs so that
everyone, particularly young people themselves, know what to look out for
and how to keep themselves safe. We know that young victims, despite often
being very tech savvy, may not recognise that they are being exploited and
the term CSE can mean nothing to them. That's why events like this one today
at The Studio are so important in helping to educate our young people so
they can spot the tell tale signs and learn how to protect themselves."
Advice and guidance for children, young people and adults to help them stay
safe online is available via these websites:-
If you believe your child is a victim or at risk of child sexual
exploitation online call Merseyside Police on:- 101.
Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on:- 0800 555 111. If the
life of a child is in immediate danger or a crime is ongoing dial:- 999.
Did you know that CSE is a form of sexual abuse that involves the
manipulation and / or coercion of young people under the age of 18 into