Police in Lancashire have welcomed the support given by local football clubs as part of a campaign to tackle child sexual exploitation.
Blackburn Rovers and the Lancashire Football Association have pledged their support to help raise awareness of the issue.
Posters with the message ‘Child Sexual Exploitation - The more you know, the more you see’ will be displayed around Ewood Park and will also be shown on the big screen ahead of fixtures in the run up to Christmas. The message will also feature in the matchday programme.
Lancashire FA has produced a short film to raise awareness of the signs. The one-minute film, which can be viewed here
, features cartoon drawings and a child’s voice which describes how any young person can become a victim and some of the warning signs that a child is being sexually exploited.
This comes as part of a week of activity which will focus on the increasing number of victims being targeted online. Officers will be working in conjunction with local councils, trading standards, schools, leisure centres, hotels, the NHS and children’s charities to focus on prevention, awareness, enforcement and engagement with communities across the county.
During the week, there will be visits to schools, children’s centres, libraries, children’s homes and takeaways. There will also be training for doctors and nurses at GP surgeries and hospitals on the signs of child sexual exploitation. Local awareness raising events will also take place and in some areas there will be theatre productions in schools and at youth clubs.
A conference, which will take place on Wednesday 11 November, will see over 250 professionals come together to discuss areas of best practice, look at lessons learnt from recent high profile cases and raise awareness about the complex issues of child sexual exploitation.
Det Insp Tony Baxter from Lancashire Constabulary’s Public Protection Unit said: “It is so important to educate people to recognise the signs of child sexual exploitation. Anyone who comes into contact with children needs to be able to recognise the signs, which is why it is fantastic to receive support from Blackburn Rovers.
“This is the third year that we’ve run the campaign and we are seeing that more people are aware of this form of abuse and are more confident to come forward to report it, but there is still more to be done.
“We would encourage anyone who has been, or knows someone who has been, sexually abused, groomed or exploited to come forward and contact police confident in the knowledge they will be dealt with sensitively and professionally.”
If you are concerned about a young person you know, call Lancashire Constabulary on 101. In an emergency, always dial 999.
You can follow activity throughout the week on our Twitter and Facebook pages, just look out for #knowthesigns.