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Protect our children from CSE

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mum & child chatting over tea

I’m a mother. My eldest is a teenage girl. I was once myself a teenage girl. So I can tell you with absolute authority having been there myself and parenting a teenager now that just because a child has the body of an adult, it doesn’t mean they are one.

We look at adults and believe that they should be able to make their own informed decisions. We want them to be strong enough to say “No”. We assume adults know their own minds, but how many adults – that is over 18’s, do we know that are incapable of all of this? So if adults can’t always protect themselves, how do we expect our children to? Older teenagers, the 16 and 17 year olds in our society are above the age of consent in the UK (which is set at 16) but are younger than the age at which the law deems them to be an adult. Therefore they are children who have little legal protection against exploitative adults.

The Children’s Society is a national charity that works to support children and young people at their most vulnerable. They are currently campaigning to strengthen the law so that sexual offences against all children, including those aged 16 and 17 will not be tolerated.

They are recommending:

  • The Government must give police the same tools to intervene when a 16 or 17 year old is being targeted and groomed for exploitation as younger children.
  • Clear guidance must be put in place so professionals such as police, teachers, social workers and NHS staff can all identify a 16 or 17 year old as a victim of sexual exploitation and work together to put support and protection in place.
  • Older teenagers who experience this awful trauma must receive urgent mental health support so they can stay safe and rebuild their lives.
  • Protecting our children from CSE (child sexual exploitation) is something that we can all do – whether we are parents or not. I have just completed an easy, 30 second form on The Children’s Society website to invite my MP to learn more about the Seriously Awkward campaign, which has been influencing the Policing and Crime Bill. The event for MPs takes place on 13th April 2016 – ahead of the vote on the Bill, so you’ll need to act now to invite your local MP to attend, and do your bit to help protect all our children. To invite your MP to attend, go to this page and click on the red button that says ‘Ask your MP to meet us’. Then you will fill in your name, address and email and hit ‘submit’. The next page finds your local MP for you and contains a letter that you can amend with your personal views, but also contains all the pertinent information they need. Just hit ‘send’ and the email is sent to your MP.

    The more MPs that are invited to attend, and the more times an MP is invited to attend, the better. You can learn more about how The Children’s Society works to stop child sexual exploitation here.

    As the ‘Mama bear’ in my household I can honestly say that I would rip apart any predator limb from limb with my bare hands if they dared to try to harm a child and I know hundreds of other parents who feel the same. However not all of the UK’s children have someone in their lives who will fight for them, and even of the kids who do, they cannot always see or know that exploitation is taking place. I’m aware that predators in adult life may have been abused as children – there are thousands of scholarly articles about the victim to offender cycle, but the abuse has to stop somewhere. A line has to be drawn. Enough has to be enough.

    Individually we can be vigilant and talk to our kids. We can be sure to listen to our children, not just when problems arise but all the time. There’s that saying by Catherine M Wallace that goes:
    “Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.”

    However a way that you can make a difference, right here, right now is to invite your MP to attend the Seriously Awkward event and help protect our children from child sexual exploitation.

    Thank you in advance for your support on this campaign and for looking after children. We need more Mama and Papa bears.

    Other blog posts I’ve written about child safety and protection:
    Keeping our kids safe online
    A parent’s guide to the social networks your kids are using

    Article Categories:
    News & Current Events · Parenting · Tech & News

    Comments to Protect our children from CSE

    • A wonderful charity that I support too. What a vital post-love these words: “Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.” Thank you x

      Honest Mum 30th March 2016 4:42 pm Reply
      • Thank you for your comment Vicki – I hope that enough people read this and invite their MPs so we can make a difference to the law. x

        JuggleMum, Nadine Hill 30th March 2016 4:58 pm Reply
    • Great cause! Yes, listening to our teenagers is so important, really really listening because they don’t always tell you whats on their mind at first, but often will if they have out full attention x

      mama syder 31st March 2016 9:07 am Reply
      • Yes, you just have to be there don’t you? Thank you for commenting. x

        Nadine Hill 31st March 2016 10:44 am Reply
    • It’s a scary world out there and I am realising it even more now that I am the parent and not the child. I attend #TheRightClick workshop with BT and Unicef yesterday which showed a great video from the CEOPS website. It certainly made my daughter think and had a good discussion with her afterwards about it. We definitely need to do more to protect our kids.

      sabina @MummyMatters 31st March 2016 9:32 am Reply
      • It’s good to inform ourselves – even of these unpleasant and nasty subjects so we can be armed with the knowledge we need to protect our kids. The CEOP website is a fab resource for people who want information. I will check that out – thank you.

        Nadine Hill 31st March 2016 10:45 am Reply
    • I think that this is a great cause and anything that encourages parents to talk to their children more is so important. I want to have open, honest and frank convo’s with the boys and find that they often talk more later at night when tucked in their beds or when we are doing something together. I am off to the get my MP involved

      Jen Walshaw (@Mum_TheMadHouse) 31st March 2016 9:40 am Reply
      • Thank you Jen – the more MPs involved the better!

        Nadine Hill 31st March 2016 10:46 am Reply
    • I can’t get an MP involved as I’m not in the UK but I support you wholeheartedly from afar and agree that we must always listen to our kids – that’s a great quote.

      Phoebe @ Lou Messugo 31st March 2016 11:54 am Reply
      • Thanks for reading and commenting Phoebe.

        Nadine Hill 1st April 2016 9:30 am Reply
    • Such an important campaign to be part of, as a parent of teenage boys I am all too aware of the dangers they face, even if they think they are old enough to look after themselves

      Kara Guppy 31st March 2016 4:57 pm Reply
      • Definitely – CSE affects both boys and girls and both need to be protected.

        Nadine Hill 1st April 2016 9:29 am Reply
    • A great cause and an excellent way to bring awareness to more people.

      Nayna Kanabar 31st March 2016 8:40 pm Reply
    • Good for you for bringing awareness, such an important cause and shows the importance of talking and listening to our kids x

      Mary Louise 31st March 2016 11:51 pm Reply
      • Thanks for commenting – it is an important cause.

        Nadine Hill 1st April 2016 9:43 am Reply
    • Sexual assault should never be tolerated – thank you for bringing awareness to this cause. Will be sending to my MP as soon as I click “submit comment” here.

      Michelle 5th April 2016 3:13 pm Reply
      • Thank you Michelle- It’s an uncomfortable subject but doing nothing is equally uncomfortable. I hope both our MPs get involved.

        Nadine Hill 6th April 2016 10:57 am Reply
    • As an addendum to my previous comment, my MP was a great personal help to me many years ago with a problem I was having, and I hope that she takes note of the email I’ve just been able to send to her via your link. Very easy and quick to do – it took mere seconds.

      Michelle 5th April 2016 3:15 pm Reply
      • Thanks again Michelle for your comment and for highlighting how easy and simple it is to do something so worthwhile to protect our children. To re-iterate for any readers, it is something ANYONE can do and you don’t have to be a parent to help protect vulnerable children.

        Nadine Hill 6th April 2016 10:59 am Reply
    • Great post and an important campaign – thanks for letting me know about it. Off to get in touch with my MP now x

      Sonya Cisco 6th April 2016 7:02 am Reply
      • Thank you Sonya- I am so glad that people are motivated to help where they can x

        Nadine Hill 6th April 2016 11:03 am Reply
    • This scares the hell out of me. Great campaign to be involved with x

      Carolynne @ Mummy Endeavours 10th April 2016 10:05 pm Reply
      • Yeah – me too.

        Nadine Hill 12th April 2016 12:33 pm Reply

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