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Campaign to stop child exploitation in Dorset
A CAMPAIGN has been launched to raise awareness of child sex exploitation across the county.
It aims to educate parents, young people, businesses and the wider community on the issue, offering advice on what signs to look for and what to do if they suspect anything.
Dorset Police and the two local safeguarding children boards have joined forces with the borough councils of Poole and Bournemouth and Dorset County Council.
Noticing a young person being picked up or dropped off in cars by unknown adults, appearing to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol or having a significantly older “boyfriend” or “friend” or lots of new friends, are just some of the signs the public are being asked to look out for.
Detective Inspector Jez Noyce of the child abuse investigation team of Dorset Police said: “When this appalling crime happens, it can cause lasting damage to victims.
“We know of fewer than 10 cases of sexual exploitation in the county, but for us this is too many.
“By educating the public, cases can be brought to light earlier and can give victims the confidence to come forward.”
Dedicated web pages providing information and advice have been created to reach members of the public and businesses across the county.
Cllr Nicola Greene, cabinet member for education and children’s services at Bournemouth Borough Council, said: “I would urge anyone who suspects a child to be the victim of child sexual exploitation to come forward as soon as possible.”
Cllr Janet Walton, cabinet member for children’s services at the Borough of Poole, warned: “Children spending an excessive amount of time online, being secretive about their activities or going missing and skipping school are all signs to look out for.
“In most instances it won’t be anything to worry about but we do have a duty to act if we are suspicious in case it is something more serious.”
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