A senior youth worker who has spent 26 years dealing with families affected by the sexual exploitation of children has raised concerns at the apparent lack of awareness among parents, people working with youngsters, and some communities.
Karen Livesey (inset), from Leyland, spoke after a special investigation by the Post highlighted how children were being targeted and exploited by online sex predators via social media and dating apps.
The youth worker, 53, who spent 26 years as an advanced practitioner and senior youth worker for Lancashire County Council Young People’s Service, is so concerned about the issue she has offered her expertise in free awareness workshops to educate people on signs and risk factors.
According to Barnardo’s, across the UK, the total of Child Sexual Exploitation cases (CSE) rose to a record 55,507 in 2015-2016, an average of 157 a day.
Karen said: “Throughout my career I have worked with multitudes of cases with varying severity and signs of exploitation.
“The multi-agency approach adopted by the police, social workers, young people’s services and other agencies offer excellent support and intervention which increasingly lead to prosecution of offenders.
“However, the increasing rise in CSE cases is alarming and shows we need to do more.
“In my experience, there are clear issues of vulnerability which can lead children and young people into sexual exploitation, but more importantly every child and young person can be a victim of this abuse.”
One concern is the lack of understanding from parents who may not use social media with the same expertise as their children.
For further details about the free workshops organised by Karen, organisations can e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org