The resource is called Be Smart Be Safe and has been developed by the Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Board and Barnardo’s, the children’s charity.
Aimed at 11 to 17-year-olds, it explains terms like child sexual exploitation, grooming and trafficking, mentions child sexual abuse cases that have hit the national headlines and uses a scenario featuring two teenage girls to raise awareness of the grooming process.
“It’s the story of two 14-year-old girls, Chloe and Paige,” explained Caroline Mogg, child sexual exploitation prevention co-ordinator for the Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Board, a multi-agency board made up of representatives from the local authority, police, health service, probation trust, youth offending service, and voluntary sector.
“Paige tells Chloe that she has been contacted online by a guy called Leon, who is 25. Chloe is the voice of reason and advises her that he is too old and she shouldn’t pursue the relationship. But Paige goes ahead and meets him. Young people using the resource realise that Leon is grooming and exploiting her.”
The e-learning package can be used in a variety of settings – in PSHE lessons, for group work and one-to-one. A resource pack has been developed for teachers too.
“This package will help children and young people understand how grooming and sexual exploitation happens – so that they can recognise the signs and be safe,” said Ms Mogg.
“From our experience there is no typical victim of child sexual exploitation – any child or young person can be at risk – so this is part of our on-going work.”
It is hoped that the e-learning package will eventually be used by schools across the country.
To find out more about the Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Board’s work, go to www.lincolnshirelscb.org.uk