A new service is to be launched in Derbyshire teaching people how to spot signs of child sexual exploitation
Catch22 has announced the launch of Derby and Derbyshire C.A.R.E.S – a service commissioned by Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa, and Derby and Derbyshire Local Authorities, to tackle child exploitation across the region.
In 2019, Derbyshire Police recorded more than 200 incidents related to child sexual exploitation, covering both physical contact and online exploitation.
Derby and Derbyshire C.A.R.E.S will include long-term interventions to reduce risk and to help young people cope and recover from the impacts of exploitation.
The service will share its Catch22 resources and teach protective behaviours in schools. By working with young people at risk of exploitation, as well as their parents and guardians, the one-on-one and group support will empower them and their families to stay safe, free of charge.
Catch22’s Marc Stevens and Service Manager for Derby and Derbyshire C.A.R.E.S says: “It is everyone’s business to care about the exploitation of our young people – whether it’s using the most vulnerable people in our communities to commit criminal behaviour or abusing them physically.
“Children are not a means and as adults, we have a responsibility to support victims and their families, to minimise risk, and to do everything we can to prevent this behaviour from occurring.”
Hardyal Dhindsa, Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, adds: “Abuse and exploitation, in any form, is unacceptable and its impact on those who have been victimised in this way can last a lifetime. The fact that children and young people can be treated in this way fills me with horror.
“I think I have a duty to provide these young and vulnerable victims with appropriate support services, that can be tailored to their individual needs.
“You don’t have to report the incident to the police to get support. While we always encourage people to report such experience to the police, we understand they may be hesitant to come forward if they have to talk to the police first. It’s more important that people get the help they need.
“The service is designed specifically to support those subjected to this type of behaviour. I truly hope it will help them to cope and recover and move forward with their lives.”
Catch22’s Children at Risk of Exploitation (CRE) services include, but are not limited to, victims of child sexual exploitation, child criminal exploitation, county lines, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and child victims of human trafficking and modern-day slavery.
Catch22 delivers similar services in Stoke-on-trent, Staffordshire, Coventry and in Pan Merseyside. The organisation was the first in the UK to deliver a service which collectively addressed sexual and criminal exploitation, recognising the often overlapping risk factors between the two.
The Derby and Derbyshire service is commissioned to work intensively with young people across the regions at any one time, from 2020 until 2021.
The launch comes on National Child Exploitation Awareness Day, delivered by NWG Network, where everyone is encouraged to think, spot and speak out against abuse and to adopt a zero tolerance approach to adults developing inappropriate relationships with children.