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Child exploitation

New service to keep children and young people safe in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire

A young girl sits on the floor in a small space next to a cupboard. She rests her head on her knees and wraps her arms around her legs which are drawn up to her chest.

Catch22 Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire CSE and Missing service, has launched to support children and young people in unhealthy relationships, victims of child sexual exploitation and children missing from home.

Commissioned jointly by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Staffordshire County Council and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, the new service will deliver a range of early work and targeted support with families, and carry out return home interviews for all missing children.The team is based in three geographical areas, Staffordshire North, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire South ensuring that communities are able to easily access support.

Kathy Boardman, Assistant Director at Catch22, commented:

“We will only stop child sexual exploitation through education, and through open and honest conversations with parents, caregivers and young people. Our experienced and highly qualified team are here to have these conversations, and we encourage both adults and young people to get in touch with their concerns.”

Councillor Dr Janine Bridges, Cabinet Member for Education and Economy at Stoke-on-Trent City Council commented:

“We are committed to ensuring our children and young people are safe. This service will ensure that any young person or parent can seek quality advice, help and guidance, tackling exploitation in a safe and supportive environment. There is a firm, clear and robust commitment between Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Staffordshire County Council and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) to jointly tackle child sexual exploitation and safeguard our young people.”

Mark Sutton, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Children and Young People, said:

“Although we have a greater understanding of Child Sexual Exploitation now than we did several years ago there is no complacency about this issue, which is why we’re investing in working with partners to keep children and young people as safe as possible in a wide range of circumstances.”