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Karen's Story

An awareness campaign launched in conjunction with the Jersey Safeguarding Partnership Board (JSPB) aims to educate and raise awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE).

Multiple agencies have worked together on the campaign to promote safe and healthy relationships, educate about consent and explain what help and advice is available.

Love Theatre, who stage educational performances for young people, have created a performance called ‘Karen’s Story’ for students in year 9 and 10. The production aims to educate children and young people about:

• healthy and unhealthy relationships
• safe internet use / “sexting”
• consent
• how exploitation can develop
• help and advice services available

Young people have been consulted on the performance offered feedback following a pilot showing in February. Love Theatre will present the production to all year 9 and 10 students (approx. 1500) in the runup to National CSE Awareness Day on Wednesday, 18 March 2020. The production will also be accessible to parents, professionals and the media at separate events.

Detective Superintendent, Stewart Gull the Vice Chair (Children’s) JSPB and lead for CSE campaign said: “Identified incidents of CSE remain consistently very low in Jersey – but we do recognise we don’t always have the full picture – often with vulnerable young people. Friends, parents, guardians and professionals are often best placed to recognise those tell-tale signs that may be out of character, including a change in behaviour.

The JSPB commissioned the Love Theatre company to work on ‘Karen’s Story’ which describes a 15 year-old-girl experiencing online grooming which leads to sexual exploitation. The story highlights the risks for young people misusing the internet and social media in a relatable and sensitive way.

“The best form of prevention is education and we hope by increasing awareness, friends, parents, guardians, and professionals can be better placed to recognise warning signs of potential exploitation.”

Jersey will be marking the National Child Exploitation Awareness Day on Wednesday, 18 March 2020 by encouraging Islanders to think, spot and speak out against abuse. Members of the JSPB will be on King Street throughout the day to speak to the public and children about CSE awareness alongside Pantosaurus who will be there in the afternoon.

Principal Youth Officer for Jersey, Mark Capern said: “Youth Service staff will be working with all secondary schools to deliver workshops that raise awareness about the warning signs of sexual exploitation and where help and support is available. The workshops are designed with various activities to ensure they are engaging, interesting and informal so that young people feel comfortable to ask difficult questions. Islanders can show their support for the campaign by writing a personal pledge on their hand and post on social media using the hashtag #HelpingHands.”

The initiatives during March form a range of projects being undertaken throughout this year to raise awareness and educate children, young people, professionals and members of the public of the issues regarding CSE.

CSE is a type of sexual abuse, that occurs when an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity in exchange for something the victim needs or wants; and/or for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator.

Any child or young person can call Childline on 0800 1111, which is free, private and confidential.

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