Investigation: Child sexual exploitation IS happening in Harrogate district

Stock image.
Stock image.

Police are dealing with victims of child sexual exploitation in the Harrogate district every day, they have said, as a campaign is launched to alert parents to the problem in the district.

It has been too easy for parents to think ‘this sort of thing doesn’t happen around here’ in light of recent high-profile child sexual exploitation (CSE) cases in Rotherham and Rochdale, a new campaign by the Safer Harrogate District Community Safety Group warns.

The Harrogate Advertiser has launched a new campaign investigating the issue and the affect it has on families in the area.

A guide sent out to secondary schools for parents aims to dispel the myth that children aren’t being sexually exploited in the Harrogate district.

It tells parents: “CSE happens all over the country and is not restricted to inner city areas. Just because we live in a generally safe area does not mean that this type of crime does not happen.”

North Yorkshire Police’s CSE Liaison Officer for the Harrogate District, Nicki Dobson, deals with victims and their families every day. She said: “It is happening everywhere, it can happen in any town or village.

“People don’t like to think this sort of thing is going on in Harrogate, there is a stigma there, but parents need to be aware.”

Insp Penny Taylor of the Harrogate District CSE Action Group said: “It’s vital that parents talk to their children about the risks of CSE, and the more information they have to hand, the better.”

See this weeks Harrogate Advertiser for a full report and advice on how parents can spot the signs.