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It’s Time to Talk

Although my children are now grown up, I remember there were times when as a parent being concerned about them, especially when they were teenagers. I know many parents, sometimes hear things or read certain stories in the newspapers, and wonder if they’re doing enough and if their youngsters are safe.

That’s why we’re launching a campaign called It’s Time to Talk.  We’re calling it this because it’s time we talked more openly about issues which may concern us.  Over the next year we’ll be organising events across the borough highlighting the risks around the many challenges we face. Most importantly, however, we want to help empower you – our residents and community leaders - to help tackle these important challenges together.

That means we need to talk more in our families, and with our children about what concerns us as well as in our neighbourhoods, communities, workplaces and places of worship.

On 18 March, it’s the annual National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day. Brent will be supporting the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board and other partner organisations to promote awareness of sexual exploitation. There’ll be a stall in the foyer of Brent Civic Centre all day where you can get more advice and support.

As parents, we need to be aware of what the signs of child sexual exploitation are, which can be a boy or girl missing school, disappearing for days on end, coming home with trainers, or smartphones that we know they can’t afford, or hanging around with gangs or older people who you don’t know.  If you or I spot any of those early warning signs – then it’s time to talk. 

Most of us are never going to face a situation this bad.  We live in a very safe place.  But even if it goes badly wrong for just one child and to one family, that is one too many. 

If you have any concerns about a child being harmed or at risk of serious harm please contact Brent Family Front Door on 020 8937 4300 or email family.frontdoor@brent.gcsx.gov.uk

If you are concerned about a child you can also call 0808 800 5000 to discuss your concerns with the NSPCC 24 Hour Child Protection Helpline.

If you feel that a child is at immediate risk of harm please call the police on 999.

If you are under 18 years old, you can call Child Line at any time on 0800 1111 to speak to a counsellor. Calls are free and confidential.

Written by Cllr Ruth Moher

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