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Contextual Safeguarding Champions Network
Contextual Safeguarding Champions Network

Organisations across Warwickshire and the surrounding area pledged their support to raise awareness of child exploitation in March to mark Child Exploitation Awareness Day. 

Messages from the Something’s Not Right campaign (, a partnership initiative between Warwickshire County Council (WCC), Warwickshire Police, Barnardo’s and the Police and Crime Commissioner, were amplified and shared in support of the awareness day.  

Since 2021 the Something’s Not Right campaign has raised awareness amongst Warwickshire residents of all forms of child exploitation to encourage everyone, not just parents, carers and professionals working with children, to tackle the issues of the exploitation of our children.  

During March, agencies across Warwickshire encouraged people to pledge to learn how to recognise the signs of exploitation and report it if they see that something’s not right. 

As part of Warwickshire’s approach to tackling child exploitation and other forms of harm that children and young people are exposed to outside their home, a Contextual Safeguarding Champion Network was launched and professionals from all over Warwickshire came together for a children and young person focused workshop as part of Warwickshire's Exploitation Subgroup Refreshed Strategy. 

Barnardo’s held events at Stratford and Rugby Train Stations to raise awareness with rail staff and passengers, as well as at Warwickshire College in Moreton Morell and George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton. They also ran child exploitation awareness training for NHS staff and other professionals in the county, and for foster carers in Warwickshire.      

Drama education company Loudmouth raised awareness with their ‘Helping Hands’ production for primary school children and their ‘Calling it Out’ production for secondary schools and specialist academies and staff. The drama company have also been commissioned by WCC, Barnardo’s and the Warwickshire Safeguarding Partnership Board to deliver their ‘Working for Marcus’ production for staff working in hospitality. 

Warwickshire Police, the Safer Neighbourhood Teams and WCC’s Targeted Youth Support also got involved by running training for professionals and child exploitation awareness activities with young people and community youth groups during the month.  

Organisations including RAF Cadets 2028 Squadron, Stagecoach performing arts and Sky Blues in the Community, Coventry City Football Club’s charitable arm, helped raise awareness in the community.  

Warwickshire NHS services also shared messages; the Integrated Care Board’s ‘Positive Directions’ is an innovative approach to tackling the physical, mental, and social challenges faced by children and young people who have experienced significant trauma, and the social prescribing of sports and clubs for their positive benefit. 

Every year, hundreds of children and young people are exploited in Warwickshire. Child exploitation comes in many different forms, such as sexual exploitation or abuse, coerced criminal activity, county lines drug dealing, human trafficking and online grooming. It can affect any child, anywhere, anytime, and regardless of their social or ethnic background or gender.  

The aim of Child Exploitation Awareness Day is to bring attention to child exploitation, promoting awareness and encouraging individuals and communities to recognise and report instances of abuse. This includes adopting zero tolerance towards adults engaging in inappropriate relationships with children, as well as children who exploit or abuse their peers.  

Detective Superintendent Pete Hill, Head of Public Protection for Warwickshire Police, said: “Child exploitation can happen to children from any background at any age. It happens online, in the community and behind closed doors in people’s homes. We all have a part to play in looking out for the signs of child exploitation and responsibility to report any concerns we have.” 

There are some key signs to look out for in a child or young person, such as:  

  • receiving unexplained and expensive gifts or money  

  • having no money but in possession of cigarettes, alcohol and other expensive items (could be a sign of running up debt)  

  • having new and significantly older friends   

  • being picked up from school by strangers  

  • substance use (drugs / alcohol)  

  • changes in mood  

  • showing signs of self-harm  

  • regularly going missing from school and home  

  • staying out late  

  • being secretive about where they are going  

  • being secretive with their mobile phone, laptop, tablet or other electronic devices  

  • lack of interest in activities and hobbies  

Everyone has a responsibility to protect children and young people, and there are things people can do to help tackle exploitation:  

  • Learn what the signs of child exploitation are so it is easier to recognise  

  • Know where to go to report anything that’s not right  

  • Build trusting relationships with young people  

  • Write a pledge on your hands to show support for the #HelpingHands campaign, and share it on social media  

  • Share social media messages from WCC and partners across social media to spread awareness  

If you think a child or young person is being exploited, you can contact the Warwickshire Front Door between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, on 01926 414144. If a child or young person is in immediate danger, call the police on 999.  

To learn more about child exploitation and the support available, visit  

Where to go for help and support: 

  • For information on how to spot the signs of child exploitation, visit  

  • For information and advice go to 

  • If you are worried about a child or young person, contact the Warwickshire Front Door between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, on 01926 414144  

  • You can also make a report to Warwickshire Police via their website or by calling 101, or you can contact your local Children and Family Centre  

  • Contact Crimestoppers confidentially and anonymously on 0800 555 111  

  • Talk to trained counsellors on the 24-hour helplines run by ChildLine on 0800 11 11 and the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000  

  • If someone is in immediate danger, call the police on 999  


Published: 28th March 2024

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