Crusade against child grooming comes to school

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SPECIALIST officers who focus on tackling child sexual exploitation have secured funding to help deliver educational sessions to schools across West Lancashire.

Eight schools have signed up for the Respect Me Too workshops so far, with the first having taken place this week at Our Lady Queen of Peace High School in Skelmersdale.

The one-day programme is targeted at Year 7 pupils and focuses on how youngsters may be groomed.

The sessions are being led by Freedom Personal Safety, a social enterprise that specialises in delivering personal safety and healthy relationship workshops in schools and the wider community, and supported by Lancashire police officers and teachers.

Using local cases, discussion and interactive activities the programme aims to increase awareness and explore issues surrounding CSE, enabling the children and their peers to identify vulnerabilities and prevent any existing problems from escalating.

Pupils and teachers will be signposted to the most relevant support agencies and it is hoped that the sessions will create and reinforce good links between the police and schools so that they have the confidence to spot the signs and help to tackle the issue together.

DC Liberty Wadsworth of the Deter Team at Skelmersdale Police, said: “This really is an excellent opportunity for us to work closely with schools.

“We will equip both the pupils and teachers with the information they need to know about spotting the signs of CSE and how they can refer any concerns onto us or one of the other agencies in Lancashire.”