Residents Urged to Lend Helping Hand to Campaign - Think, Stop and Speak Out About Exploitation
People in South Tyneside are being encouraged to lend a hand to support a national campaign aimed at putting an end to child exploitation
In the run up to National Child Exploitation Awareness Day, this Thursday (18 March), people are being encouraged to support the Helping Hands campaign by writing a message on their hands and posting it on social media with the message #HelpingHands and #CEADay21.
The National Child Exploitation Awareness Day aims to highlight the issues surrounding child exploitation. It seeks to encourage everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse and adopt a zero tolerance to adults developing inappropriate relationships with children. Child exploitation is when an abuser takes advantage of a young person for their own personal gain. This can take many forms, including sexual exploitation or forcing the child to commit a crime.
Councillor Moira Smith, Lead Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: "Child exploitation is an abhorrent crime but it is not one that we or the police can tackle on our own. We rely on the public to be our eyes and ears and would encourage everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse."
To further raise awareness of the issue South Shields Town Hall will be lit up in a burgundy hue and people are asked to wear something burgundy in support of the cause.
The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, will be promoting advice for parents, carers and professionals around online safety and how to prevent exploitation online and there will also be a session delivered by the National Online Safety Live Network. To find out more visit www.stscb.org.uk
Protecting vulnerable children is one of the leadership's newly announced priorities.
Deputy Leader, Councillor Joan Atkinson, added: "It is a sad fact of life that the conditions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have only served to increase the risk of child abuse. That is why it is so important that we support this campaign and encourage our residents to help us spread the word that we take a zero tolerance attitude to adults who form inappropriate relationships with children."