The Outer Hebrides Child Protection Committee has set up a multi-agency CSE working group to raise awareness and to put in place measures to ensure the safety of children and young people across the islands.

As part of an education awareness programme on Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) a total of 52 multi-agency staff participated in child protection training days recently provided in Stornoway and Benbecula.

This activity was carried out in direct response to the recent Scottish Government initiative; Scotland’s National Action Plan to tackle Child Sexual Exploitation. Key agencies will also work together to identify culprits, disrupt their activities and ensure that they are prosecuted.

Child Sexual Exploitation can happen in many shapes and forms but in today’s world of technology the internet is featuring in many more cases than before. This can include sexting, sending explicit images, online grooming and controlling a young person using a mobile phone.  In response to this and supporting efforts to keep children and young people safe online, three members of the local CSE working group have been trained as CEOP’s Ambassadors.

CEOP stands for Child Exploitation and Online Protection and is a national law enforcement organisation with a network of professionals trained to deliver a ‘think you know’ internet safety programme to staff who work with children and young people.  The ‘think you know’ training programme and its associated resources are not designed to scaremonger about the danger of the online world we live in , but rather to highlight the positive and the negatives uses of online technologies and provide practical advice on how to reduce the associated risks.

Roddy Mackay, Police Inspector and Chair of the CSE group stated “We are committed to raising awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation in all its forms and this is a key part in our wider commitment to ensuring we all do our part to prevent vulnerable children and young people from coming to harm. Getting this right is a priority for the Outer Hebrides Child Protection Committee working in conjunction with NHS Western Isles and I would urge anyone with concerns about a child or young person to always report it. Help us to make sure that abuse and exploitation of any kind has no place in our communities.”