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Conference to tackle CSE

11 November, 2014

THIS week sees the second annual conference dedicated to looking into child sexual exploitation taking place in Lancashire as part of the Constabulary’s CSE awareness week.

A wide range of delegates from professional partnerships and safeguarding boards will hear and discuss areas of best practice, look at lessons learnt from recent high profile cases and raise awareness about the complex issues of child sexual exploitation.

The one day conference will be held at the Mercure Dunkenhalgh Hotel in Blackburn on Wednesday 12 November.

The conference will be opened by Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw and Lancashire Constabulary’s Deputy Chief Constable Andy Rhodes. Representatives from the NHS, Lancashire County Council, Crown Prosecution Service and Lancashire Constabulary will speak throughout the day.

In the afternoon a special workshop session will highlight some of the most recent high profile reports and a victim of CSE will be sharing her story with the delegates.

The conference will be closed by Detective Chief Superintendent Ian Critchley, Head of Crime at Lancashire Police, who said: “Following the success of last year’s conference, I am pleased that Lancashire is hosting the event again this year as part of our wider awareness week.

“It is proven that a multi-agency approach is vital when tackling CSE and the conference will bring these groups together to share and promote best practice, particularly at a time when there is a vast amount of media, political and public scrutiny of how we seek to protect vulnerable children from these abhorrent crimes.

“We strive for excellence in all areas of policing, and none more so than in our protection of children to keep them safe from being abused and exploited. We are committed to rooting it out and stopping it from happening.”

Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “CSE has rarely been out of the media spotlight in recent weeks, and one of the key things which has been highlighted is a need for agencies to ensure they are taking the issue seriously and listening to the voices of young people.

“As Police and Crime Commissioner, I have made tackling CSE a clear priority for Lancashire and I know it takes a partnership approach to ensure our young people are protected from harm.

“That is why I am pleased Lancashire is hosting this conference for a second time. Everyone who attends on Wednesday has accepted both them and their organisation has a role to play in ending the exploitation of vulnerable young people. I hope by working together and learning from each other, we can make that a reality.”

Alongside the main conference, Lancashire County Council’s Young People’s Service will be hosting a youth version for pupils from high schools and colleges.

The youth conference takes Prevention and Early Help as its theme, with young people offering their unique insight on identifying the issues and how those issues might be addressed.

At the end of the day, the young people will give a ten-minute presentation to the main conference about what they’ve learned during the day.

They will also have three key tasks to do when they return to school: to write an article about the event for their school magazine; to share their learning with the school’s pupil council; and to take back useful information which can be distributed throughout the school.

County Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “Young people themselves are best placed to advise us on the kind of messages that will have an impact on their age group and I’m very pleased we’re able to tap into their knowledge in this way.

“Each young person that we can educate about CSE has the potential to help stop a classmate, a friend or even themselves from being groomed or exploited by these cynical predators, and I’m grateful to the police and other agencies for supporting this event.”

County Councillor Azhar Ali, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, added: “The exploitation of children has been a high-profile news topic lately, although in Lancashire we have already been working with the police for several years to tackle the issue.

“My hope is that the coverage on the news, and excellent awareness work by ourselves and partners, will build on the sea change in knowledge and attitudes which will help stamp out the callous exploitation of some of our most vulnerable young people.

“I hope this campaign encourages people to contact the police with any concerns.”

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