New service in Fife to protect youngsters at risk of sexual exploitation

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Youngsters in Fife at risk of sexual exploitation are to get new support.

Police Scotland and Barnardo’s Scotland are extending their working relationship into the region after operating successfully in Aberdeen and Dundee for the last two years.

The new service, called RISE – Reducing the Impact of Sexual Exploitation – aims is to reach, protect and support children and young people at risk..

Advisors will support police officers by improving their support to children under the age of 18.

They will also pull together intelligence information to help identify and disrupt perpetrators and their networks, protect victims, and prevent others from becoming victims.

Child sexual exploitation is often hidden, with perpetrators using violence, coercion and intimidation to exert power over children.

Young people may not realise they are being exploited – or may be too afraid to ask for help.

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Daljeet Dagon, Barnardo’s Scotland’s national programme manager for CSE, said: “Working with Police Scotland sharing skills, knowledge and intelligence will provide a coordinated response across Fife..”

CSE advisors are working with Police Scotland in Glenrothes, supporting front line officers and other key agencies.

Daljeet added: “Having them located within police divisions, and embedded within local child protection arrangements, will help ensure that the right systems and supports are in place which identify and respond to child sexual exploitation and improve outcomes for vulnerable and at risk children and young people”.

The extension of the partnership into Fife was welcomed by senior police officers.

Detective Superintendent Elaine Galbraith, head of child protection, said:”Child sexual exploitation remains a complex issue with children often unaware that they are being targeted by predators.

“Maximising opportunities to disrupt offending behaviour at an early stage is vital to protecting children and young people.

“Developing staff across all organisations to understand, recognise and act if they suspect a child is being sexually abused and/or exploited is a key factor in that early intervention and this has been such a positive feature of the work of the CSE advisors in Dundee and Aberdeen.”

The new service was featured in a presentation at the Scottish Parliament last week where the charity met with MSPs to secure their support.

Together with colleagues from Police Scotland, local authorities and other agencies Barnardo’s Scotland shared their knowledge and experience of what works in tackling CSE, and highlighting the importance of disruption in the fight against CSE in all areas.

For more information about identifying the signs of CSE, support or any further information go HERE