Child grooming

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Children can be groomed by other children

Information on child sexual exploitation
BBC

As a prevention officer for child sexual and criminal exploitation at the Avon and Somerset Police, it is Androulla (Andri) Nicolaou's job to highlight the issue of children being exploited.

A large part of this is information, understanding and communication. She points out that people must be aware that it is not only girls who are at risk and it is not only men that target them.

"Boys have been exploited as well ... and female offenders exploit children and unfortunately children do it to other children too."

That is why it is important to talk to boys too and ask the question, "are you being sexually exploited?"

It's important to remember boys can be victims too.

Leighton Deburca who set up Nitewatch, says "Sharing intelligence is what makes tackling a huge issue like child sexual exploitation possible. It's a complicated thing to grasp."

"It's inter-generational but it's also about older kids who are also exploiting younger kids and putting them into gangs and it's always about the power exchanges - it could be someone only a few years older that has groomed that child in a sexual nature or dealing drugs.

"It's important that schools, teachers and the night-time associations and everybody in the police work together to combat that.

How club and bar workers can help identify children at risk

According to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, systematic grooming and sexual abuse of children by groups of offenders in cities and towns of England and Wales is "widespread".

For Avon and Somerset Police spotting at risk children early on and intervening is a key priority.

Androulla (Andri) Nicolaou, is prevention officer for child sexual and criminal exploitation at the force.

Part of her work is building awareness about the issue by visiting children's homes, schools and youth clubs.

Earlier this month she hosted an information stand at Motion night-club in Bristol to help educate bouncers, barmen and club-owners about spotting the signs of CSE- as it is known by professionals in the field.

Teaching people what to look for helps the police crack down on child exploitation.

She said: "Clubs and bars have a major role to play in case children come in with the perpetrators and they need to see the signs and know what they are going to do.

"I want them to look out for children who feel uncomfortable, young children with a lot of adults, children who drink alcohol and adults who let them."

Leighton Deburca set up Nitewatch and says protecting children from harm is one of the four licensing objectives in Bristol.

They help educate doormen and bar owners about children on the streets at night who could be at risk.

He said: "Sharing information is vital as we function 12 hours of the day so while everyone else is in an office or a school, we are the ones who will see them trying to sneak in with their fake IDs."

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