AN EVENT will be held next week in a bid to help victims of child sexual exploitation find their voices.

Just West Yorkshire and new Bradford-based organisation Mothers Against CSE are hosting the conference at the University of Bradford's student union, on December 18 to discuss what barriers victims face when reporting such sexual attacks and grooming incidents.

Speakers include Councillor Ralph Berry, Bradford Council's executive member for children and young people's services; Aisha Khan, of Mothers Against CSE; and Bradford solicitor Nasreen Karim of Platinum Partnership, who has helped victims report their abuse to the authorities.

Ratna Lachman, the chairman of Just West Yorkshire, an organisation which promotes racial justice, civil liberties and human rights, had been due to speak but has had to pull out.

The event will concentrate on the victims, many of whom have felt let down by the system; some when they tried to report the sexual attacks they had suffered, and others when they had to go through the judicial system and give evidence against their attackers.

This event seeks to understand why victims have been reluctant to come forward to report their abuse and also to provide as much information and support for those who do come forward.

One of the organisers, Aisha Khan, told the Telegraph & Argus: "We need to help these girls and equip them with the necessary skills - showing them what makes a good relationship, so that they can tell the difference between a normal relationship and an abusive one.

"Ratna and I are working together to create a model of good practice which we are hoping will be rolled out within communities in Bradford. We want to bring as many different professionals together as possible. We can't combat this individually - we need to work together."

The event runs from 6pm to 8pm with registration and networking from 5.30pm, at the lecture theatre in the Student Central building, off Longside Lane.

Earlier this year Barnardo's launched a hard-hitting campaign to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation, helping parents recognise the tell-tale signs.

The charity identified three questions that parents should be asking their children: How much do you know about the people you spend time with or chat with on-line? Has one of your friends ever given you a gift or bought something for you and you didn't know why? Has anyone ever asked you to do something that made you feel uncomfortable?