A CAMPAIGN to increase awareness of child sexual exploitation has been launched across Cheshire.

“The More You Know – The More You See” drive will involve every agency concerned in safeguarding young people across the county.

The campaign aims to create debate among young people, professionals, parents and others people responsible for caring for young people, about how to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation.

Schools across Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East, Halton and Warrington will be working to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation among children and their parents.

Detective Chief Inspector Nigel Wenham, strategic public protection unit, said: “Ensuring young people are familiar with the signs of child sexual exploitation will help them to make positive decisions about relationships.

“It will alert them to relationships with people who may want to manipulate and control them in order to sexually exploit them.

He added “If child sexual exploitation can be talked about openly in the home, at school, with friends, with family and those charged with caring for young people then they will be able to trust those people around them and be able to break free by seeking the vital help they need.”

Recent news headlines have been dominated by criminal prosecution of child abuse cases affecting children as young as ten. 

Agencies involved in “The More You Know – The More You See” campaign are working together to protect young people from similar exploitation.

Children and parents are being urged to visit the "know and see" website  where there are profiles of three young people who have been sexually exploited.

Their stories bring home the trauma of child sexual exploitation and explains the signs to look for if a child is being exploited.

Councillor Mark Stocks, executive member for education and children, said: “While West Cheshire has thankfully not experienced the sort of problems which have given rise to recent national concerns, we owe it to our children to create a system of the utmost vigilance.

“One of the major problems facing child care professionals is that many incidents go unreported because victims are reluctant to come forward or are possibly unaware of the extent or implications of their abuse.

“We hope that the right early education in schools may have an effect on both these factors.”