Pupils at 20 schools across Wyre and the Fylde coast are being given advice on the dangers of child sexual exploitation.
The Children’s Society is working with the county council to help prevent, identify and respond to the issue of child sexual exploitation – a key message of this week’s Lancashire Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Week.
Sexual abuse and exploitation can scar a child for life
Joanna Hunt, programme Manager for The Children’s Society in Lancashire, said: “Sexual abuse and exploitation can scar a child for life.
“This service is about raising awareness among school staff, students and parents about how to spot the signs that something is not quite right – and then take positive action to try to make sure things do not escalate.
“While these signs could be something obvious like truancy, or a child going missing, a change in behaviour such as using more make-up or the sudden appearance of an expensive gadget like a new smart phone might also give cause for concern.
“By working together to identify those signals early, we can make sure that fewer children become victims of sexual exploitation.”
The county council’s young people and schools boss, Matthew Tomlinson, said: “This training is an important way of alerting children and young people to this dreadful crime, which is actually child abuse.
“This problem is not exclusive to any one community, gender, race or religion, so all children could potentially be at risk. We all have a part to play and a collective responsibility to make sure our children are safeguarded.
“Many young people simply don’t realise when they are at risk and either won’t, or don’t know how to, ask for help. The training we commission from the Children’s Society is actively helping to raise awareness, to support vulnerable children and young people, and to prevent child sexual exploitation in Lancashire.”