Police campaign targets danger of child sex abuse

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CHILD sex victims’ parents, friends and teachers are being asked to report crimes as police say few youngsters contact them directly.

Hampshire police today launch a major campaign against child sexual exploitation with artwork by Southsea illustrator Roma-May Daly.

Artwork by Southsea illustrator Roma-May Dal who was commissioned for Hampshire police's child sex abuse launch

Artwork by Southsea illustrator Roma-May Dal who was commissioned for Hampshire police's child sex abuse launch

It comes as the force revealed:

n 22 per cent of victims are under 13.

n 46 per cent of child abuse was perpetrated by children.

n 34 per cent of child sex crimes were committed by adults between 18 and 21.

Roma-May Daly of Southsea, who contributed artwork to Hampshire Constabulary's child sex abuse campaign

May 2016

Roma-May Daly of Southsea, who contributed artwork to Hampshire Constabulary's child sex abuse campaign May 2016

Sarah Newman, Portsmouth City Council’s deputy director of children’s services, said: ‘Child sexual exploitation is a concern because too often the young person will not see themselves as a victim, so it’s harder to intervene and help.

‘That’s why we’re asking people close to someone who’s at risk of CSE – friends, parents, teachers – to take notice of this campaign and get in touch.’

Roma-May added: ‘The opportunity to provide the imagery for a campaign like this is one of the biggest honours I’ve had so far in my creative career.’

Police said five key signs of potential CSE are:

n Going missing, staying out late or skipping school.

n Changes to mood.

n Unexplained gifts.

n Being involved with people who are not their usual friends.

n Being controlled.

Assistant chief constable Sara Glen said: ‘Protecting vulnerable people is our priority. We hope that by raising awareness of the signs of CSE we can keep more young people safe with the support of our partners.’

The force said main types of exploitation in the county were peer-on-peer abuse, when victims have sex with older people they think they are in a relationship with, and when older men prey on young vulnerable victims at parties.