It’s harder for children living in Jersey to speak out when they become victims of sexual exploitation because the Island is a small community, says a charity campaigner who has been talking to police about tackling abuse.
Experts from the UK charitable organisation NWG Network have been in the Island to give police officers advice on what to look out for and what they can do to help victims.
Chief executive officer Sheila Taylor said there’s a greater chance of victims knowing their abusers in small communities, which makes it harder for them to come forward and speak out about them.
She said: “We have to create an environment which is young person friendly, understand how difficult it is for them.
“We’ve been talking about what child sexual exploitation looks like, how it manifests itself, how you can recognize signs and symptoms, how you can respond to it.
“If you are a parent or somebody looking after a child you’d be looking for unexplained missing incidents, unexplained gifts, non-accidental injuries, self- harming, young people who have isolated themselves from their peers and their family – things that are not normally in their make up.”
But Mrs Taylor said not all these are signs of child abuse and can just be part of how some young people are developing in their teenage years.
You can find out more about the work of the NWG Network on their website http://www.nwgnetwork.org.
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