TIM DREW: Professional support to help children at risk

Tim Drew
Tim Drew

Statistics recently published by the NSPCC suggest that, across the UK, the number of child sex offences rose by 15 per cent to 64,667 over 2016/17.

During that same period, Sussex Police recorded an increase in such cases by 13 per cent to 1,694, of which 46 were online.

The Department of Education is therefore seeking to inform the public about the different types of child abuse and neglect, educate them on how to recognise the signs, reassure them about the reporting process, and support them through it. Also to remind professionals, including teachers and healthcare professionals who work with children, of their duty to provide safeguards.

To help tackle child sexual abuse and exploitation, police officers need to be equipped to work with other agencies and to have ongoing support and training.

To this end, the police and crime commissioner for Sussex has funded the post of a child sexual exploitation (CSE) analyst, whose intelligence-led role is helping Sussex Police to identify the immediate risks and emerging challenges around CSE.

She has also funded a child independent sexual violence advisor (CISVA) to help support child victims of sexual abuse in Sussex and, together with the chief constable, has ensured extra investment in specialist training for officers and staff and in digital forensics to help the police catch offenders.

A possible scam was foiled recently when one of our members was approached at a taxi rank by a young woman who wanted money to pay her fare. Instead of handing over the cash there and then, he asked her to tell him where she wanted to go so that he could pay the taxi driver direct.

She started to walk towards the taxi, but then made an excuse to leave. Whether this was an attempted scam or not, our member is to be applauded for thinking on his feet and providing an object lesson to us all.

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