A week-long campaign to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation has been deemed a success.
Initial analysis shows that over 1,700 people got involved in events organised by Bradford Council, KIVCA (Keighley & Ilkley Voluntary and Community Action) and the Racial Justice Programme. As a result of the various sessions, several young people came forward to directly ask for support, as they felt they may be at risk.
Activities in the campaign week of 14-18 March included a performance of the ‘on the line’ play about online grooming; twenty-five Council youth work sessions with up to 100 people making ribbons in the campaign colours and discussions on healthy relationships; assemblies to hundreds of school children and Keighley College students about CSE.
Two days of action at the Airedale Shopping Centre in Keighley were well-received with lots of people signing the United Keighley Pledge to tackle CSE and taking part in the Count Me In hands montage, asking to be kept informed or offering help. There was also a day of action at City Park in Bradford and the Mirror Pool and clock tower at City Hall were turned teal, the CSE campaign colour.
There was also an awareness raising session run by a trainee social worker with the Roshni Ghar project (a community mental health project for women in Keighley) and Hand in Hand project at the University of Bradford Students Union.
The aims of the week were to encourage people to:
- Recognise when someone is being exploited or doing the exploitation
- Report crime or suspicions
- Talk about the issue of CSE openly so that it cannot be used as a means to divide communities and so that perpetrators cannot hide.
Awareness-raising initiatives will continue across the district with support from communities and partner organisations.