Reports of child sexual exploitation in Northamptonshire have increased by a half.
That’s according to the county’s police force who say the rise is the result of their campaign to teach people how to spot key warning signs.
There’s also been a similar increase in arrests.
Assistant Chief Constable Ivan Balhatchet said: We want to increase referrals and reports of CSE. CSE like all sexual offences is under reported and we need to give people confidence to report these crimes to use.
We have invested in training and resources across the county but we are not being complacent. There is much more to do to prevent CSE, safeguard victims and tackle perpetrators.
Child abuse has a devastating impact on the victim and we need to continue to raise awareness so people understand the signs of child abuse and report incidents to us. We cannot tolerate this appalling abuse of children and we need to all open our eyes to it.
We need members of the public to be our eyes and ears and to let us know if they spot the signs of this terrible crime so that we can hunt down their abusers and bring them to justice – there is no greater priority for Northamptonshire Police.
Northamptonshire s Police and Crime Commissioner, Adam Simmonds, said:
Child sexual exploitation is a major child protection issue across the UK and is a local priority which I remain firmly committed to.
CSE is often hidden from view with vulnerable young people groomed and then abused, leaving them traumatised and scarred for life.
Victims need to be listened to and believed. Perpetrators need to be disrupted, prosecuted, and brought to justice for their actions and the force is dramatically improving its response to tackling this horrendous crime along with its partner agencies.
Child sexual exploitation is the rape and abuse of children and we need to tackle it as just that and no less, which is why I placed £1 million into this area of work that will be ring-fenced to help support victims of crime, including those affected by child sexual exploitation.