Beware of child exploitation warning signs

Leigh Journal: Lowton Girls Group with councillors and professionals Lowton Girls Group with councillors and professionals

CAMPAIGNERS have warned friends and family to look for the warning signs of child sexual exploitation this Christmas.

Lowton Girls Group – which is tackling exploitation across Wigan – said the behaviour of young people over Christmas could produce some telltale signs.

“With Christmas approaching it is more important than ever to be aware of the warning signs that a young person you know may be at risk,” said group member Lisa Brew, 19.

“Has your son or daughter received unexplained presents this year? Is your friend spending the holiday away from family and friends? Are they more secretive than usual about who they are spending all their time with?

“Being vigilant on warning signs such as this could help identify if a young person you know may be in trouble.”

Lisa issued the advice to professionals who gathered at Lowton Youth and Community Centre to learn more about the group’s work.

The young women from Lowton Girls Group have spent two years learning about child sexual exploitation with support from Wigan Council youth workers and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.

Their work has received backing from Greater Manchester Police, Barnardo’s and Wigan Borough’s Safeguarding Board.

“We need to work together to change our attitudes and not just take the behaviour of children and young people at face value,” said Clr Sue Loudon, Wigan Council’s cabinet champion for children and young people.

“Sometimes when teenagers are moody or secretive it is very easy to think that is just what teenagers do. However, sometimes it can be a sign that all is not right.”

For more information call Wigan Council’s Voice and Engagement Team on 01942 486237.

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