Cause for Concerns
01 July, 2018
Caroline Henry, Engagement & Recruitment Adviser talks about Cause for Concerns in Bradford
Rarely has CSE been out of the news since the Independent Inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham 1997 -2013. In very basic terms, child sexual exploitation involves a victim being targeted and groomed by adults, with the intention of sexually assaulting and/or raping them.
Grooming can take place in many forms - both 'on line' in social media chat rooms, via mobile phones or in person. The child will not always realise they are being groomed.
Often the grooming starts with friendship or a relationship, where the offender may supply gifts such as clothes, money, mobile phones, which may progress to the supply of alcohol and drugs.
Sometimes the children are given lifts and transported around. The offender will usually encourage the child to distance themselves further from their usual family and friends. Soon into this friendship/relationship, sexual assaults and rapes may occur upon the child.
The offenders are very organised and deliberate in their actions, in some cases working together within a group. They are predatory sex offenders, targeting specifically vulnerable children
In Bradford we have had a number of Cause for Concerns raised because a learner/s has been involved in CSE or at risk of getting involved. We have seen a worrying pattern of a small group of girls meeting up with young men at a lunch times and when they didn’t have any planned lessons. The men would rent a room for 2 hours and the girls have gone along to meet these young men believing they are their boyfriends.
The girls have then returned to the Opportunity Centre to wait for their parents to collect them at 4pm.
I have spoken to the girls about “grooming” and what the risks are. The girls all don’t want their parents to know as they say this will have real repercussions for them and it would result in them being removed from education. This then opens up real concerns for us in looking at the best way to safeguard our learners, as where possible we always encourage working with parent/s or carers. We are still working on how to best deal with this issue.
We work with our local police team and share intelligence about the men (nick names are always used) and about the premises that are used. We are looking at preventative work; concerned that the girls who have been involved could coerce new learners to get involved.
We have had a number of cases of blackmail too. Learners have shared a picture of themselves with a boy/ girlfriend or one where they may be wearing some revealing clothing with a friend or relative. Someone they thought they could trust. However, the picture has been shared with others. The learner has then been contacted and blackmailed for either money or for sex. Some learners have disclosed this and we’ve been able to support them and the police have been involved. In some cases the learner has paid out monies before disclosing what has been happening.
Other centres will come across the same issues and it would be useful to share good practice and to discuss how to improve safeguarding for our learners.
There is a wealth of reading about CSE online and resources.
Sammy Woodhouse, a survivor of CSE who is now a public speaker and campaigner. Sammy has recently developed a website which explains CSE from someone who has been a victim
If would like any further information or would like to discuss CSE further, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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