Support service for young victims of crime
Funded by Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw, the workshop is part of an ongoing programme of work between the Commissioner’s office, Lancashire Police, local schools, professionals working with young people and Nest Lancashire, the support service for young victims of crime.
Mr Grunshaw said: “Exploitation and abuse of children isn’t just a policing issue, it’s a problem for all of society and we need to come together to tackle it. Today’s been all about helping our young people protect themselves and their friends through better awareness and education.
“Over the past year my office has been working with schools and professionals across the county to develop a set of resources they can use to educate young people around issues like grooming, sexting and online safety to make sure they don’t fall victim to sexual exploitation.
“The toolkit that has been created as a result is now being used by more than 200 professionals working with children and young people in Lancashire and today’s workshop will produce additional resources to be used by schools and shared by the young people themselves.
“Importantly, the toolkit also highlights the specialist support available through Nest Lancashire which means that young people across the county know where they can turn for help if they ever need it.
“It’s been fantastic to see the enthusiasm of the students that took part in the workshop today and to see the materials they have created.”
Detective Chief Inspector Eric Halford from Lancashire Constabulary added: “The sharing of indecent images between children, commonly referred to as sexting is a becoming a great concern. It makes children really vulnerable to being further exploited through blackmail, especially once images are ‘out there’ in the digital world.
“We firmly believe that much of this is preventable and our own research suggests as much as 57% of this type of incident is driven by a desire for affection, attention and online popularity.
“If we can educate children about the dangers of this behaviour we can start conversations with them about how to meet their emotional needs in healthier ways that don’t leave them unwittingly open to being criminalised or becoming a victim, both of which has a massive impact on their mental health and in the worst cases, their future life prospects.
Vicki Allison, Station Director for Rock FM said: “Rock FM are proud to be involved with this project and welcome local young people into our radio station. Working with us to create various forms of media messages, the young people were able to further help raise awareness of sexual exploitation.”
Professionals working with children and young people in Lancashire can request access to the toolkit at www.nestlancashire.org/toolkit.