A campaign to raise awareness of the signs of child exploitation and how to seek help has been launched by the council’s Safer Arun Partnership.
Young victims may be targeted by individuals or gangs and pressured into stealing or carrying drugs or weapons and put into dangerous situations. They might also be sexually exploited.
A new website has been designed as part of the Look Out Reach Out campaign to help children - and parents and carers, who often don’t know where to go for help.
Along with information about the signs to look for – such as changes to usual behaviour, going missing or getting home later and new belongings - it gives advice and where to seek support.
The website can be found at www.reachout-arun.co.uk
Councillor Jacky Pendleton, Chair of the Residential and Wellbeing Services Committee and Deputy Leader of Arun District Council, said: “Children don’t always speak up when they are being exploited but there are often clear signs that something is wrong.
“With this campaign we want to ensure that parents and carers recognise the signs and know where to go to for advice and support. We all have a part to play in keeping young people safe and putting a stop to exploitation.”
Detective Chief Inspector Mick Richards of Sussex Police said: “We fully support this Arun campaign. Sussex Police works with our multi-agency partners to protect children from abuse and neglect, including work on individual cases to ensure the child receives the support they need and is protected from any further abuse or neglect.”
To report concerns you can contact Sussex Police at any time online at https://www.sussex.police.uk/contact/af/contact-us/ or by calling 101.’
For further advice and information from Sussex Police, see https://www.sussex.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/caa/child-abuse/child-sexual-exploitation/
The Safer Arun Partnership (SAP) is a team who work together to drive down crime and anti-social behaviour across the district with one common goal – to build an Arun that is safer and where people feel safer.
The partnership includes members from Arun District Council, Sussex Police, West Sussex County Council and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Services.
To find out more about the SAP, visit www.arun.gov.uk/safer-arun-partnership/