National Child Exploitation Awareness Day – STOP CE | Bolt Burdon Kemp National Child Exploitation Awareness Day – STOP CE | Bolt Burdon Kemp

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National Child Exploitation Awareness Day – STOP CE

On Saturday 18 March, the tirelessly hard-working charity NWG invite us to join their fight and help raise awareness of child sexual awareness and to stop child exploitation (CE) .

Giving a platform to the voices of vulnerable children, this national day of campaigning aims to educate and support professionals working with children. They want us all to recognise the signs of sexual exploitation and prevent this abhorrent crime, as well as have the tools to support victims.

In 2019-2020 there were 73,518 recorded offences against children including rape, online grooming and sexual assault – a 57% increase over five years in reported sexual abuse of children. When we stop to consider the fact that it takes, on average, seven years for a child to come forward about sexual abuse, and that many never come forward at all, the actual figures are likely to be much higher than we know.

Child sexual exploitation can be committed by strangers and people you know. Children may trust their abuser, not understand that the sexual abuse is wrong or “not normal” and may be threatened or groomed into keeping the abuse a secret. Signs of child sexual exploitation may include:

  • Secretive behaviour or lying
  • A change in mood or behaviour, such as angry outbursts
  • A change in personality, such as becoming withdrawn
  • Physical health issues such as UTIs, bedwetting and soiling, or bruises and bleeding in the genital or anal area
  • Nightmares or poor sleep
  • Substance abuse
  • Inappropriate knowledge of sexual acts for their age
  • Avoiding or becoming fearful of certain people or places

If you suspect that a child is being abused, trust your instincts and speak to the police. Specialist officers will be able to help you. If a child discloses abuse to you, show them that you believe them, stay calm, and of course, speak to the police. If you would like any advice or support, STOP CE have a list of resources for reporting child sexual exploitation.

In my experience as a Child Abuse Solicitor, people who were abused as children often come forward when they are in their 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond. They have pushed the memories of the abuse deep down and tried their best to get on with their lives, despite the serious impact abuse like this has on their mental health, their education and employment and their relationships. It takes strength and courage to come forward and disclose abuse, and it is vital that when someone speaks up, we believe them and we support them, no matter when the abuse happened.

At Bolt Burdon Kemp, we are passionate about helping both children and adults who have been abused to seek justice, support, and compensation for the serious trauma they have suffered. We are a team of committed, expert solicitors who are determined to do our best by our clients and get them the help they need. We fund private therapy for our clients whilst their cases are ongoing to make sure that they start on the path to recovery as soon as possible.

If you or someone you know has suffered child sexual exploitation, please feel free to contact me or one of the team about bringing a claim for compensation.

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