“Don’t be x-ploited online” – that’s the message of a new hard-hitting campaign, the posters for which were designed by Ribble Valley school pupils to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation.
The new poster campaign is the latest phase of Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner and Constabulary’s the More You Know, the More You See campaign. They were released to coincide with national CSE awareness day on Friday.
The posters were designed by youngsters from St Augustine’s RC High School in Billington and further enhanced with comments and suggestions from schoolchildren across Lancashire at the young people’s CSE conference late last year.
Lancashire Constabulary Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “Our campaign, which also uses the social media hashtag #knowthesigns, started three years ago to help professionals and those who come into contact with young people to understand what grooming and exploitation may look like.
“The latest phase of the campaign is designed to reach out to the young people themselves and understand the risks they face encouraging conversation and debate that hopefully will help prevent them and their friends from being abused.”
Clive added: “Both victims and groomers can come from any background – this campaign makes that clear encouraging youngsters to question why people may be befriending them or their peers.
“The young people at St Augustine’s worked with staff from my office and the Constabulary along with a graphic artist to come up with the latest designs.
“As well as the message that groomers can come from any walk of life, they also aim to highlight the role of on-line gaming as an avenue which can be exploited by those looking to exploit boys too.”
Headteacher of St Augustine’s, Michael Wright, said: “A number of our students have been involved in Child Sexual Exploitation conferences organised in Lancashire over the last couple of years and felt they were in a strong position to contribute to the creation of the posters for the CSE campaign, focussing on areas that they felt would resonate with school-aged children.
“This is not an easy topic to deal with and our pupils showed a great deal of maturity and sensitivity in the creation of the new posters. CSE is rightly seen as a priority in safeguarding our young people and anything that can done to highlight the issue with children and reduce their exposure to risk is of great benefit.”