NHS in Sandwell and West Birmingham launches new training to tackle Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

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The safeguarding team from NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is set to launch an innovative training package for healthcare professionalsthis month to help them to ‘consider the signs and explore the issues around Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)’.

CSE involves perpetrators grooming their victim in various ways either in person, virtually or via mobile phones, before emotionally and sexually abusing them. In England, 1.3 million children and young people will have been subjected to child sexual exploitation or abuse by the time they turn 18; that’s one child in 20. 

In response to the need to tackle CSE on a local and national level, the CCG has worked in partnership with The Children’s Society and NHS England to develop the CSE Superhero Campaign.  

Professor Nick Harding OBE, Chair of NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG said, ‘We are committed to preventing this horrific abuse of children and young people. I would recommend that all health professionals take this training to ensure that they become more aware of CSE, recognise the signs and refer to agencies that can safeguard children.’

‘The CSE Superhero theme was developed in response to a challenge at a national safeguarding conference by the mother and brother of a young woman who was murdered trying to help a friend who was a victim of CSE. The call from the victim’s family was for health professionals to become superheroes and help tackle CSE.’

‘Our safeguarding team felt extremely passionate about working to make this a reality, and therefore I am very pleased to announce that the training is now ready to be launched.’

The campaign materials include a training film and accompanying toolkit aimed at enabling health professionals to identify the signs and indicators of CSE and to improve practice to safeguard children. The training film, ‘Know the Signs’ stars Josie Lawrence and was produced by ‘Chatback’, who are a group of looked-after and birth children of foster carers.

Rob Willoughby, Area Director for The Children’s Society in the Midlands is pleased to be involved in the campaign, and recognises the urgent need to improve awareness of CSE. Rob said, ‘Through our direct work with vulnerable young people, we have witnessed too many stories of children becoming victims of CSE and the subsequent trauma it causes in their lives. Last year, we worked intensively with 1,151 young people in the Midlands, many of whom had experienced sexual abuse.’

‘We all need to work together to spot the early warning signs of CSE.Training health professionals and giving them guidance and advice is an incredibly important step in preventing young victims falling through the cracks. The Superhero Campaign is an excellent training initiative and we hope these materials will equip professionals working on the frontline to help protect many more children from this horrendous abuse.’

The project will be launched on Wednesday 21 June 2017 at an event for healthcare professionals and multi-agency colleagues at  West Bromwich Albion football stadium. The event will also mark the beginning of an academic research evaluation by the University of Birmingham.

The training package will be available from 21 June for all health professionals nationally via the NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG website: