We've launched a campaign urging people to 'Speak Up' on suspicions of child sexual exploitation.
We want to help the public recognise that child sexual exploitation offenders may not fit into any stereotype, but could be anyone.
We're highlighting how these perpetrators work, be that individually or as a group. They may also fit into certain ‘categories’ of offender; The Hook, The Predator, The Coordinator.
These offenders often display a level of control with a child or young person, as part of the grooming process or when committing criminal acts. They will try to control through violence, intimidation, persuasion or aggression. It often begins by befriending young people, who do not see themselves as victims of a crime.
“For too long this issue has been something of a taboo. Child sexual exploitation has a terrible effect on the victims, and the abusers are often skilled at covering their tracks and hiding their grooming behaviour.
"Our campaign is aimed at urging public awareness and giving us any information you have, 100% anonymously. It might be that the perpetrator is a neighbour, a colleague, or a family friend. We guarantee that no one will ever know you contacted us. Speak up and help protect children and young people.”
Gemma Gibbs, Crimestoppers Regional Manager
Give information anonymously
Look out for on-street sexual offenders working at three different levels:
Usually younger attractive males who have the ability to impress potential victims with cars, money, lifestyle etc. They may pose as a 'boyfriend' before passing the victim on to others.
Usually older males involved in committing sexual offences with victims passed on by the 'hook'. There is an inappropriate age difference between them and the victims. They are likely to have a sexual interest in children.
They arrange sex parties and organise the transport of victims to locations. They may also have a sexual interest in children.
Recognise the behaviours
The way a person acts might indicate that they could be an offender. They will try to control children or young people using Violence, Intimidation, Persuasion or Aggression (VIPA). Offenders often start by befriending young people, who don't see themselves as victims.
The latest phase of this campaign is now reaching out to the public to encourage reporting potential perpetrators of child sexual exploitation and abuse.