Today is National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day.
And Thames Valley Police is signifying how seriously it takes the issue by making personal pledges to help tackle the crimes.
Throughout the day officers and staff will write a personal pledge on their hands, which will be photographed, and posted on social media alongside the hashtag #helpinghands.
The national awareness day aims to highlight the issues surrounding CSE and to encourage everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse. It also aims to stress there is zero tolerance towards adults developing inappropriate relationships with children and children forming inappropriate sexual relationships with their peers.
CSE is a form of sexual abuse which involves the manipulation and/or coercion of young people under the age of 18 into sexual activity. This could be in exchange for things such as money, affection or gifts.
Det Supt Joe Kidman, head of protecting vulnerable people, said: “I am pleased to be supporting the national awareness campaign for CSE. It’s important to remember that every child could be at risk of CSE and that is regardless of religion, background, race or gender. The message on my hand is that boys can be victims of CSE too.
“All of us have a part to play in keeping our children safe; every pair of eyes, every pair of helping hands. Know the signs, don’t be silent and if you see something say something.
“CSE remains a top priority for TVP and the force is committed to the fight against the abuse of children.”
Thames Valley Police supports the ‘Say Something’ helpline which is targeted at children and young people with concerns about child sexual exploitation (CSE) involving themselves or others.
The helpline is run by the charity Missing People, in association with the National Working Group Network, and is funded by the Department of Education. Callers will be offered advice, and where appropriate, necessary or requested, access to the police to ensure protection and safeguarding. The phone and text helpline number is 116 000.