A CAMPAIGN highlighting how grooming and sexual exploitation can be a part of the wider exploitation of children has been launched again.

The I Didn’t Know Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Campaign is re-launching for 2017 for the next week, in the lead up to National CSE Awareness Day, on Saturday March 18.

It shines a spotlight on how grooming and sexual exploitation can be a part of the wider exploitation of children, such as trafficking, criminal exploitation by gangs and organised crime networks.

This year’s campaign identifies with young people who may feel trapped through the grooming process to commit crime and abuse other young people and importantly emphasise that they can get help and support too.

Deputy Chief Constable Matthew Horne said: "This campaign aims to reach victims who may feel that they cannot seek support because they are afraid or are worried they might get in trouble.

"We want to raise awareness of the devastating impact of child sexual exploitation and ensure young people and parents know where they can go for advice and support.

"If you have any concerns that you or a child you know could be a victim of CSE, we urge you to get in touch.”

For each day of the campaign week, there will be key messages published on social media using the hashtag #KnowAboutCSE, to reach young people and parents.

Rochford Council are also supporting the campaign. Rochford Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community, June Lumley, said: “We all have a responsibility to help tackle child exploitation in our communities, so it is important to be able to recognise it and know where to get support.

“I would particularly urge parents, and those with a responsibility for young people, to go to the Essex Police website and learn how to spot the signs.”

The public can support the campaign by talking to others and letting them know about the websites, printing off resources and displaying them in public areas, and sharing it on social media.

Inspired by a video project created by the Essex Children in Care Council, the campaign was set up last year by Essex Police and the Southend, Essex and Thurrock Safeguarding Children Boards, to raise awareness about CSE across the wider Essex area.

Within the same year, it won both the Gold Award at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Pride Awards and the Partnership Working Category at the You Make the Difference Awards in Essex.

This reflected the effective partnership across Pan Essex, with targeted activities, such as the Safer Seafront Campaign and the Essex Schools Project, while on social media feeds, a reach of nearly 1.5m was achieved during the week’s campaign in 2016.