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Work of dedicated Bradford group determined to keep vulnerable youngsters safe will be highlighted in city during Safeguarding Week, which starts on Monday
A partnership of police, social workers and charity groups are helping stop vulnerable children slipping through the gaps and into the hands of sexual predators.
The Child Sexual Exploitation hub at Eccleshill Police Station was set up earlier this year, and one of the police officers involved says it is just as important to stop children falling into such situations as it is to help those being abused.
The hub’s successes will be highlighted next week, when the Bradford Safeguarding Children and Safeguarding Adults boards hold a week of events for those who work with vulnerable people.
Child sex exploitation and domestic abuse are some of the issues being discussed during Safeguarding week, which starts on Monday.
The events will bring together staff to share the best ways of dealing with these sensitive issues.
The boards are made up of police, Council staff and representatives from various charities.
Superintendent Vince Firth works at the hub, and said each morning the group reviews children referred to them and assesses their risk of falling prey to abusers, making it a valuable tool in child protection.
He said: “The key thing is that different agencies are working together. Once we identify these children there are different pathways the agencies can go down.
“One of the main problems is the children don’t realise they are being exploited – they think their abuser is their boyfriend who loves them. But what then happens is they get them involved in sexual activity.
“Being in a partnership works because these children might not want to speak to the police. Other members of the partnership can build relationships with these children and help them realise they are being exploited.”
He said referrals are not always victims of sexual exploitation, but it helps the partnership identify other, potentially harmful, issues in their lives.
He added: “It’s the same social workers, the same cops, the same volunteers who share the information and talk to the children. The same people who understand the issues and know these children, so their information is not just being passed around different people.”