We are supporting the national Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day on 18 March to help raise greater awareness about how young people in the borough can be protected from harm.
As a part of ongoing work, we are working with the Brent Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) and the police to host an information stall on 18 March from 9am to 4pm at Brent Civic Centre where residents, parents and the community can find out more about the issue.
The awareness day aims to highlight the issues surrounding child sexual exploitation and to encourage everyone to spot and speak out against abuse and adopt a zero tolerance attitude. Schools, community leaders, residents' organisations and members of the public are being encouraged to take part.
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is a form of child abuse where a young person under the age of 18 is encouraged, groomed, trapped, forced or coerced into a sexual relationship or situation. It often involves the young person being offered something in return for performing sexual acts, such as alcohol, cigarettes, gifts, money, drugs and affection.
Mike Howard, Independent Chair of Brent Local Safeguarding Board, said:
"Child sexual exploitation has been a priority for the LSCB over recent years. We know from listening to children and young people and their families in the borough that online grooming is an issue for them.
"We hope that this awareness day will provide valuable information because spotting the signs of child sexual exploitation (CSE) at the earliest opportunity is vital to preventing this serious crime from taking place, and for bringing perpetrators to justice."
Councillor Ruth Moher, Lead Member for Children and Young People, said:
"The safeguarding of our children and young people is everybody's business and everyone has a role to play in raising people's awareness of sexual exploitation. The national day is an excellent time to talk about this issue and further educate people about sexual exploitation.
"Having the national day is an excellent way to encourage people to talk about this issue and for the public to be further educated about the potential dangers for children and young people in our modern society."
Brent LSCB has more information about child sexual exploitation, including how to spot the signs, visit www.brentlscb.org.uk
If you have any concerns about a child being harmed or at risk of harm please contact us without delay. Children and their parents may need urgent help. Please contact the Brent Family Front Door on 020 8937 4300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are calling outside normal office hours (9am - 5pm) please call our emergency duty team on 020 8863 5250.
If you do not feel comfortable about telling us, or you are not sure if you are right, you can also speak to a police officer, teacher, health visitor, doctor or the NSPCC. The most important thing is to tell someone who can help.
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 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.
If you believe a child is in immediate danger you should phone the police, call 999.