Wigan Warriors have joined forces with police, charities and local authorities to take a stand against child sexual exploitation.
The club, along with Salford Red Devils, FC United and Rochdale Hornets are supporting the It’s Not Okay campaign as part of a week of action focusing on sport.
Throughout the week, police and partners will be raising awareness of child sexual exploitation with those that play, watch or coach sport by delivering training sessions, hosting information stalls at local leisure centres and speaking to young players about child sexual exploitation.
Sports clubs will be encouraged to sign and display an It’s Not Okay charter on their noticeboards, reinforcing their commitment to tackling and preventing child sexual exploitation from happening on their watch.
Det Supt Joanne Rawlinson from Greater Manchester Police said: “Greater Manchester is a fantastic place for sport and we want to celebrate this while ensuring it is a safe space for children and young people. Allegations of historical child sex abuse within sport has recently been highlighted nationally and it is important that people feel able to come forward regardless of whether the abuse happened 10 years ago or 10 days ago.
“Children and young people may choose to confide in their coach and it is vital that staff know how to respond to a child who may turn to them for help. This week we are providing training to people working within sport to increase their understanding of child sexual exploitation and the steps that can be taken to identify the signs and provide support to victims.”
Warriors scholarship manager Steve McCormack will head up the project locally. He said: “As a club and through the Community Foundation we work with thousands of youngsters each week and a large number of our fans are juniors too. Their wellbeing is of utmost importance to all of us and we are proud to be involved in “It’s Not Okay” and will endeavour to do all that we can to help spread this important message far and wide.”