Programme to combat Child Sexual Exploitation in Aberdeen

A new partnership between Police Scotland and the children’s charity Barnardo’s Scotland in Aberdeen have developed a programme in response to Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE).

The official launch of the new services and programme, which will run as a pilot for two years, took place at North East Divisional Headquarters in Aberdeen on Wednesday 30 August. The programme is funded by Barnardo’s Scotland, Police Scotland and Comic Relief.

The aim of the programme is to reach, protect and support children and young people who are at risk of CSE in Aberdeen. CSE Advisors from the charity’s RISE (Reducing the Impact of Sexual Exploitation) service will support Police Scotland’s officers by improving their support to children under the age of 18. In consultation with Police Scotland, the CSE Advisor will assist in identifying and disrupting perpetrators and perpetrator networks, protecting current victims, and preventing potential victims, by bringing together intelligence information.

Peter Nield, Barnardo’s Scotland’s Assistant Director, said

Working in partnership with Police Scotland sharing skills, knowledge and intelligence will provide a coordinated response to CSE across Aberdeen.

CSE advisors are located in Police Scotland Head Quarters in Aberdeen, supporting front line officers and other key agencies providing a coordinated response to CSE.

Having CSE Advisors co-located within Police Divisions, and embedded within local child protection arrangements, will help ensure that the right systems and supports are in place which identify and respond to child sexual exploitation and improve outcomes for vulnerable and at risk children and young people.

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Cowie, said

Children across Scotland are being groomed by sexual predators for the purposes of sexual exploitation. We also know that children may not realise that they are being exploited.

Partnership working is key to prevention which is why the CSE Advisor pilots are hugely important. Working with Barnardo’s, we hope to improve the identification of children who may be at risk of CSE.

By taking this proactive, multi-agency approach Barnardo’s and Police Scotland aim to reduce risk and ensure the right support is in place to prevent children becoming victims of people who seek to exploit them for sex.

CSE is often hidden, with perpetrators using violence, coercion and intimidation to exert power over children. Children may not realise they are being exploited or may be too afraid to ask for help.

We need to recognise the signs, listen to young people and take action against perpetrators.

For more information about identifying the signs of CSE, support or any further information please visit the Child Sexual Exploitation page of the Police Scotland website.

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