Charity NWG Network has been raising awareness for child sexual grooming by supporting hotels and licensed premises across the country to make staff aware of signs.
The charity’s campaign ‘Say Something if you See Something’ was primarily developed to help the hotel, licensing and taxi industries to be more aware of child sexual exploitation (CSE), how it could affect business, and what they need to do if they recognise that someone is being exploited on their premises.
The campaign resources have already been downloaded over 50,000 times by many different hotel chains, local authority licensing departments and a number of police forces in the UK.
The work done in South Yorkshire, via its Local Safeguarding Children’s Board and police, is already seeing success with potential offenders being apprehended, and hotel and pub staff more alert to the warning signs.
Kevin Murphy, NWG’s response unit lead for licensing and the hotel industry, said: “The charity has already developed strong links with several major hotel chains as well as the Federation of Small Businesses.
“By using our resources effectively, with both their staff and customers, it is not only helping to keep children and vulnerable adults safe but is also protecting the reputations of businesses.”
NWG has worked closely with many of the multi-agency Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards with the Say Something campaign in their areas, allowing them to monitor and report on CSE.
Julie Hague, licensing project manager for Sheffield Safeguarding Children Board, has reportedly seen successes in her area in South Yorkshire, following the pilot of the Say Something campaign.
She said: “The key people to act as the eyes and ears of a premises were either not aware of it, or didn’t know how to talk about it or report it.
“As a result of sharing this nationally and developing good practice, we have now trained people in all hotels across South Yorkshire. Because of the training, the face to face work and national backing, I believe people now have the ability to talk about CSE and are enabled.”