Future Voices: Don’t believe the myths about child sexual exploitation

Future Voices. Pictured: Child Sexual Exploitation. Picture: Supplied

Future Voices. Pictured: Child Sexual Exploitation. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Supplied

Child sexual exploitation is a touchy subject, which sometimes makes it hard to tell what's true and what isn't.

I'm here to help you sort the myths from the facts.

Myth 1 – It doesn't happen in Norfolk...

Sadly, child sexual exploitation is far more common then we believe it to be and happens across the UK. Norfolk's chief constable, Simon Bailey, said: 'I want people to know it can happen anywhere and it's happening in Norfolk.' This clearly highlights the unfortunate frequency of the issue.

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Myth 2 – If you speak to the police everyone will know...

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Many people fear that if they report anything, the police will turn up with blue flashing lights. This is not true.

All officers in Norfolk have received training around sexual exploitation and are aware of the sensitivities required when dealing with this type of incident.

The police aim to make the situation as private and comfortable as possible whilst being sympathetic.

Myth 3 – It only happens to girls...

Young girls and boys are equally vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

However, boys may be less likely to tell people or ask for help due to the stigma or fear they will not be believed.

Fact – Child sexual exploitation can happen in a variety of ways...

Not only can it involve vicious, humiliating and life-threatening assaults, but it can also occur online. At least 70,000 online images of child abuse were shared in the UK last year – and these numbers are thought to be increasing.

For more information on the myths surrounding child sexual exploitation, visit:

n http://www.nspcc.org.uk

n http://www.paceuk.info/

n http://www.manchesterscb.org.uk/docs/CSE%20myth%20v%20reality.pdf

Esther Oyewole, 16, Wymondham College

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