18th March 2021, 09:29 | safeguarding

Child sexual exploitation - RFL backing national awareness day

Child sexual exploitation - RFL backing national awareness day

Today (18 March) is national Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day - and the RFL is reaffirming its commitment to protecting children and young people on this and every other day in the calendar.

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a form of abuse that involves the manipulation and/or coercion of young people under the age of 18 into sexual activity. CSE Awareness Day aims to highlight the issues surrounding child exploitation, and encourage people to think, spot and speak out against abuse. The RFL supports the organiser’s zero tolerance approach to adults developing inappropriate relationships with children, or children exploiting and abusing their peers.

RFL Safeguarding Manager, Kerry Simmons, says: 

"The sexual exploitation of any young person aged 18 or under needs to be stopped or even better prevented from happening in the first place. It is a form of child abuse and the Office for National Statistics reports that sexual abuse has become the most common type of abuse. It’s important that we raise awareness and that people understand age-appropriate sexual behaviour, so we can recognise and address harmful behaviours and abuse of young people.”

The RFL is encouraging its social media followers to spread the word by writing a personal pledge on their hands to show support for the ‘Helping Hands’ campaign. Photos should be posted on social media along with the hashtags #HelpingHands and #CEADay21.