Information to help families spot the signs of child exploitation and seek help will be available online during a national safeguarding week.
Safeguarding Week will be taking place from Monday next week (20 June) when an extensive array of safeguarding experts from North Yorkshire, York and the East Riding of Yorkshire will be running free on-line sessions, seminars and events.
The week-long programme will feature more than 50 sessions on safeguarding issues affecting adults and children. It will cover suicide prevention, safeguarding adults and children in domestic abuse, keeping children safe online, the power of the bystander and signs of radicalisation.
Some sessions will only be open to professionals working in safeguarding, but the majority of the sessions will cater for members of the public.
To coincide with the event, North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Partnership (NYSCP) will be launching an information resource for parents, carers and young people on preventing and tackling child exploitation. The information will be incorporated into the partnership’s Be Aware knowledge hub, which is already a source of information for safeguarding professionals in North Yorkshire.
The new information will now provide clear advice to residents in North Yorkshire about the warning signs of criminal and sexual exploitation of children and young people and where to turn to if they are worried.
It has been created using the powerful experiences of families, children and young people in North Yorkshire who have experienced child exploitation and wanted to help prevent others fall victim to abuse.
One young person experienced criminal exploitation when he was offered money by adults to commit criminal offences on their behalf. He decided to contribute to the Be Aware hub as he felt his story could prevent other young people making the same mistakes.
He said: “I thought it was a good thing to do at the time because nobody my age was making the money that I was making.”
He added that he felt like he was “going around in circles” trying to end his participation in the criminal activity but then being dragged back into it.
“I was just stuck. That’s all I was. I was stuck and then I realised, this is a chance to get out. So I took the chance when I could.”
The young person’s mother, who also contributed to the Be Aware hub, added she thought her son had become dragged into criminal exploitation because he thought he had found some kind of acceptance.
“I think it was more that he found a group of friends that accepted him, but it wasn’t for the right reasons,” she said.
“Even though we’ve always set boundaries at home and he’s been brought up to know what’s right and what’s wrong. That didn’t make a difference. Because these people that he was hanging around with; he thought they were his friends. But they would just use him – getting him to do stuff for them.
“Before we noticed there was something going on, it was too late.”
The newly updated Be Aware hub will go live on Friday, June 24
The North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Partnership will also be running an online information session during safeguarding week, on June 24, with information on the Be Aware website and professional development programmes available.
Other sessions run during the week include:
- Sleep right. Information on safe sleeping with newborns and babies from the North Yorkshire and York Safeguarding Children Partnerships on June 21.
- Safeguarding adult victims of domestic abuse, with IDAS and North Yorkshire County Council on June 21.
- Responding to perpetrators of domestic abuse. Session led by the Independent Domestic Abuse Service (IDAS) and North Yorkshire County Council on June 22.
- Active bystander training. Equipping people with skills to intervene and tackle unacceptable behaviour from the North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Partnership on June 23.
The free sessions for Safeguarding Week 2022 have been put together by partners from Safeguarding Adults Boards, Children’s Safeguarding Partnerships and Community Safety Partnerships across North Yorkshire, York and the East Riding of Yorkshire and led by North Yorkshire Police, which under pin this year’s theme of “safeguarding is everybody’s business”.
The full programme of events is open for viewing and booking via EventBrite and early registration is recommended.
The national event can be followed via the hashtag #safeguardingweek2022