Sports clubs play their part to tackle child abuse

19 Mar 2018 09:00 AM

CSE Awareness Day [View Full Size]

Northumberland sports clubs are throwing their support behind an event to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation (CSE).

The event, organised by Northumbria Police and The Children’s Society, will bring together coaches, referees and senior figures from local rugby, cricket, archery and football clubs to improve their understanding of abuse and how to deal with a report of CSE.

The session at Ashington RFC will give coaches and sports leaders the chance to get up to speed on the latest national guidance on exploitation and make sure they know how to properly manage a report from a child about abuse.

It rounds off a week of action by the Force towards the ‘SEE IT, STOP IT, TACKLE IT’ campaign, which encourages children to speak to someone, if they fear they are being abused. Earlier in the week, the region’s football heroes from Newcastle United, Sunderland FC and Middlesborough FC put their rivalries behind them to promote the campaign alongside The Children’s Society, Northumbria Police and Newcastle Elite Academy.

The activity falls under the Force’s wider Sanctuary banner, which aims to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.

The session at Ashington RFC has been spearheaded by PCSOs Claire Jones and Nicola Bone, who deliver specialist workshops to children and young people about abuse at the Force’s Safetyworks! community hub in Newcastle’s West End.

PCSO Jones said: “I’m heavily involved in youth sport because of my kids, and I wanted to make sure the knowledge I had of safeguarding thanks to my role as a PCSO was shared in our smaller, local community clubs that may not get access to the latest training on CSE. It’s important that clubs of all sizes, from the top flight right through to our juniors here in Ashington understand that this issue affects us all.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria Dame Vera Baird, who funds the Safetyworks! centre said: “Educating coaches and trainers about CSE is for everyone in sport whether they are international, national or local clubs.  I’m delighted that Ashington RFC are supporting Northumbria Police in educating those who can make a difference.  We all have a role to play in helping young people to find their voice if they believe they’re a victim of abuse. When a young person does come forward, rest assured that there is support at hand from the police and our partners. Nobody should have to suffer in silence.”