Frontline staff from Walsall Healthcare’s Manor Hospital and community services are working in partnership with Street Teams to further raise awareness of child exploitation.
Street Teams is a local organisation in Walsall specialising in working with children and young people abused through exploitation. It has arranged sessions to run on Thursday 14 March for staff to understand what Child Exploitation is (Sexual and Criminal Exploitation), how to recognise it, to understand the grooming process in all its forms and how best to support vulnerable children.
Areas that will be covered include County Lines and the grooming process, increased awareness of wider exploitation with a focus on criminal exploitation of children, an understanding of connected issues such as trauma and Stockholm Syndrome and how best to share information.
Helen Matthews, of Street Teams, said: “We want to assist people in recognising the exploitation of children and young people and being able to confidently report this, ensuring that children and young people are supported at the earliest possible intervention stage.
“We find that a lot of people do not report things they come across due to firstly not spotting it, or not knowing how to report it.
“Working in partnership with Walsall Healthcare is an important step towards this, to ensure effective identification. Having these training forums gives everyone the tools and knowledge to say something if they see something.
“Staff should have a full understanding of what to do – what action to take and appreciate the fact that the early identification of children and young people at risk of or being exploited leads to better outcomes for the child. Our partnership with the hospital has given us the opportunity to develop these sessions and formulate a closer working relationship so that we can be more effective together.”
Liz Tandy, Walsall Healthcare’s Lead Nurse for Safeguarding Children, added: “We want to make the most of any opportunities for our staff to gain a greater understanding of child exploitation.
“The patients we see and the information staff can potentially gather helps add to the bigger picture and may prove invaluable in keeping the child or young person safe, as well as identifying crimes and perpetrators in our borough. We’d like to thank Street Teams for their support.”