Awareness of child sex exploitation is the first step towards eradicating this despicable crime.
Here in Derbyshire, we do much to alert young people and their parents to the signs, the risk and the dangers, and to reassure the public that all allegations are thoroughly investigated.
As the Rotherham Report’s shocking revelations continue to rock the country, it is reassuring to know that our constabulary has been recognised for its resolute determination in bringing perpetrators to justice, using all the powers it has to investigate reports.
So please, if you feel someone is being groomed or at risk, report it now. You will be listened to.
Do this even if your concerns relate to events some time ago.
Soon after the Rotherham Report was published, I was briefed on the approach that Derbyshire Constabulary takes to allegations of abuse – and has done in the past.
Protecting the vulnerable is possibly the most important part of my role.
The same applies to the police and authorities whose job it is to do all they can to keep them safe.
Doing this to the best of our ability means never being complacent.
Together, we also provide support to victims and their parents. Some of that support is financed by the local authorities and some from funds I have at my disposal as Police and Crime Commissioner.
But again, tackling CSE starts with awareness.
It is my belief that raising awareness of CSE, and how children and young people are ensnared, will help to keep them safe. They deserve and need the vigilance of us all.
By Alan Charles, Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.