Officers from the Deter Team, who focus on tackling child sexual exploitation (CSE), have secured funding to help deliver educational sessions to teachers from schools across West Lancashire.
This follows on from the ‘Respect Me Too’ workshops that were run in several schools across the area last year aimed at Year 7 pupils focussing on how youngsters may be groomed.
Three, one-day training programmes for staff from nine West Lancashire schools will be hosted at Skelmersdale Police Station led by Freedom Personal Safety, a social enterprise that specialises in delivering personal safety and healthy relationship workshops in schools and the wider community.
The sessions will focus on:
- healthy/unhealthy relationships
- impact of pornography (inappropriate pictures/selfies)
- Grooming/Child Sexual Exploitation – spotting the signs
- Safeguarding – the referral processes
- the law and legal implications of the above issues
These sessions will provide staff with an in-depth knowledge of the issues covered and give them the resources and techniques to explore these topics in school with students. Each school will receive a resource pack to share with colleagues and to use in school.
Each teacher attending the course will be asked to take their knowledge back and carry out three delivery sessions over the academic year, two of which must be direct delivery to students and one can be a training session to colleagues.
These sessions are part of a wider plan to improve and build upon joined up working between police and schools to ensure that between us, we are doing all we can to protect our children.
It is the hope that these sessions will mean that teachers will have more confidence in spotting signs of CSE, more of an understanding of how to deal with it if they do spot a problem, and to provide more resources for the teachers to support them in what is crucial role in keeping children safe.
The sessions start at the beginning of the national CSE awareness week on the 8th November and will run until the 14th of the month.
Funding to run the sessions, of £2,000 was secured by officers through the Community Safety Funding scheme run by the Police and Crime Commissioner.
DC Liberty Wadsworth of the Deter Team, Skelmersdale Police, said: “This really is an excellent opportunity for us to work closely with schools. We’ll equip the teachers with the information they need to know about spotting the signs of CSE and how they can refer any concerns onto us or one of the other agencies in Lancashire.
“Tackling CSE remains one of our priorities across the county and these educational sessions are just another part of our on-going commitment to protecting children, preventing child abuse, helping victims and targeting offenders, ultimately bringing them to justice.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire, Clive Grunshaw, said: “Helping young people to be safe is key to ensuring that they can’t be exploited or groomed.
“Supporting vulnerable people and victims is one of the key priorities of my Police and Crime Plan and I fully support the work with local schools to help keep our young people safe.
“We have done a lot of work to raise awareness of CSE and to prevent young people from being targeted. However, anyone who has fallen victim to grooming or exploitation can now get help through Nest Lancashire, a service I launched earlier this year to provide support, information and guidance to young victims of crime.”
Julie Tweedale, Director of Freedom Personal Safety, added: “We believe prevention work of this kind empowers young people to make safe choices and be aware of how they can take steps to reduce risks, particularly when they are online. Working in partnership with the schools and the Deter Team means we can pool our knowledge and experience to raise awareness with young people across West Lancashire.”
You can follow activity throughout CSE Awareness Week on our Twitter and Facebook pages, just look out for #knowthesigns.