Parents share heartache of child exploitation

The heartache and torment of parents whose children have been the victims of child sexual exploitation is laid bare in a new video released by West Yorkshire Police.

The force has worked with charity Pace (Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation) to record the experiences of parents and raise awareness of the issue as part of its Know the Signs campaign.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable, Ingrid Lee, who leading the campaign, said their personal recollections should be of real benefit to others.

She said: “These parents have volunteered to share their experiences in the hope of making a difference to other families across West Yorkshire.

“They have bravely re-lived some of the distressing and upsetting circumstances they faced and how they dealt with them at the time.

“Evident in each of these accounts are specific signs which are indicative of child sexual exploitation.

“For example, they describe instances of their child going missing, being secretive in their behaviour and spending time with older men.

“Also highlighted is their involvement in drugs and confrontational characteristics which seemingly appeared out of the blue.

“These first hand observations by local parents should give others the knowledge they need to recognise this crime and report it.

“What is clear from this video is the heartache and torment attached to this crime and the importance of tackling it at the earliest possible opportunity.

“We want those who are affected by these terrible offences to realise that they are not alone and that there is lots of help out there for them.

“The Force continues to work side by side with local authorities, organisations and charities to tackle child sexual exploitation and we are absolutely committed to facing this head on.”

Gill Gibbons, chief executive of Pace said: “So many families across Yorkshire are devastated by this horrific criminal activity and live with its consequences forever.

“We fully support West Yorkshire Police’s campaign Know the Signs as we know the one message parents whose children have been exploited would want to communicate to other families is to take a moment to learn what the signs are of possible exploitation, and, if your heart tells you something is wrong, seek advice and help.

“The quicker a child is helped the more likely it will be that they can be protected from terrible risks.”

To read more about the West Yorkshire Police Child Sexual Exploitation campaign, please click here.

If you have been subject to child sexual exploitation, know somebody who has, or have information about those involved in this crime, contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.