Young people in Cornwall may be unaware they are being exploited, and that’s why Our Safeguarding Children Partnership for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has launched a new phase of their campaign - #CETHESIGNS.
It will focus on helping young people to understand different types of exploitation; what signs to watch out for, and the help and support that’s available to them if they’re worried about themselves or a friend or family member.
Much of the content for this new phase of the campaign has been co-designed with the help of young people, thanks to support from colleagues at the Cornwall College Group, HeadStart Kernow and Young People Cornwall.
Mike Carnall from The Cornwall College Group said: “I think it’s really important that young people have helped us to shape this next phase of the campaign.
“It will hopefully encourage other young people to get on board in learning what to watch out for when it comes to exploitation and, most importantly, let them know that there are people here to help them if they’re worried about themselves or someone they know.”
Children and young adults in Cornwall are not immune to exploitation and this campaign has been designed to increase public awareness of the signs and indicators. This body of work links into the new three-year Cornwall Exploitation Strategy from 2020-2023 for children and young adults aged up to 25.
Cabinet Member for Children, Public Health and Wellbeing at Cornwall Council, Sally Hawken, said: “The important thing to remember is that children and young people don’t always realise what’s happening to them.
“Offenders use all sorts of tactics to get young people to do things for them – whether that’s befriending them, giving them gifts and money, or making them think that they owe some kind of debt – and a young person might even think they’ve agreed to what’s happening.
“But we also know that those who exploit children and young people will often resort to violence and threats when they don’t get what they want; that’s why it is so important for us to make sure that we’re educating young people on the signs to look out for and the routes for reporting any concerns – even if they’re not completely sure that it’s exploitation.”
You can find more information on the campaign by visiting the OSCP’s website, where you’ll also find a host of free campaign resources.
How can someone get help?
If you are, or you think a friend is, being exploited or abused then it’s important to know that help is available. You can contact the police directly on 101 or 999 if you are in immediate danger. You can also ring Childline for help and advice on 0800 11 11.