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Northumbria shines spotlight on sexual exploitation

Tuesday, 27 March, 2018
Northumbria shines spotlight on sexual exploitation

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has shone the spotlight on sexual exploitation in a bid to raise awareness of this often hidden problem.

The trust, together with partners, held a safeguarding conference to explore all aspects of sexual exploitation, abuse, trafficking and modern day slavery to encourage those who see it, to tackle it and stop it.

The trust has a specialist safeguarding team which supports staff working in the community and hospitals across Northumberland and North Tyneside to spot the signs of exploitation with the aim of supporting patients, and preventing further instances.

The conference followed National Child Exploitation Day on 18 March with partners in the North East extending this to Sexual Exploitation Awareness Week.


Jane Smyth, professional and operational lead for safeguarding adults and children at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “Exploitation of any form is a horrendous crime and destroys lives and families.

“Anyone could be a victim of sexual exploitation, trafficking and modern day slavery and whilst the majority of victims are women and girls, men can also be the victims.

“It is sad to say but many vulnerable members of society are especially at risk of exploitation such as young people, looked after children, adults with physical, learning or mental disabilities, drug and alcohol users, homeless people and those with limited or no immigration status.

“We feel it is so important to shine the spotlight on this area, hear victims’ stories and provide professionals with the information they need to spot the signs and do all they can to prevent instances of abuse.”


More than 300 people from organisations across the North East attended the conference and speakers included a victim of male sexual exploitation and Northumbria Police.

Superintendent Steve Barron of Northumbria Police, said: “Raising awareness is always key in tackling crime, and exploitation is a prime example. By highlighting the dangers and educating people on prevention and where to get support, we can ensure we’re policing the issue from all possible angles.

“We have dedicated specialist officers who work within our safeguarding department who target suspects and engage with victims to provide full support throughout the investigation process.

“It is important we highlight that anyone can be a victim of exploitation and hopefully by raising awareness we can significantly reduce offences.”

Ends.

Media contact:

Jaclyn Curry – Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

0191 203 1654 / 07833 046680

jaclyn.curry@northumbria.nhs.uk


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