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PCC Funds Innovative Training Programme to Help Prevent Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall has funded an innovative training programme to be delivered by Girlguiding Cumbria North and Barnardo’s.

The grant, for just under £10,000 from the Commissioner’s Community Fund will be used to facilitate a pilot training programme called ‘Real Love Rocks’, aimed at raising awareness around CSE and what a healthy and safe relationship is. The training, developed by Barnardo’s, is currently being offered to schools but in recognition of the critical role voluntary organisations such as Girlguiding and Scouts play in ensuring the welfare and safety of our young people, the programme will now be delivered to Guide and Scout Leaders and Peer Educators.

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall said: “I’m really pleased to support this training programme as tackling online sex crime and supporting our young people are two of the high priority objectives in our Police and Crime Plan. Therefore, any initiative that helps us to keep our youngsters safe is to be welcomed.

“Many people think that because Cumbria has a low crime rate that CSE does not happen here. However CSE can happen to any child, anywhere, which is why it is so important that people are aware of the issue.”

Julie Walton, County Commissioner for Girlguiding Cumbria North, said: “We are so proud of the work that Karen Quinn, a Girlguiding volunteer from 1st Skelton Rainbows has done with the Police and Crime Commissioner and Barnardo’s to offer this incredibly important programme to our leaders who will then use it to educate the girls and young women of Girlguiding Cumbria North. Sadly the risks we are trying to prevent are becoming all too common and we need to work together to safeguard the young people of our communities. It is fantastic that we can work together on this project to equip our members for the more modern world.”

Eddie Ward, Cumbria Scouts, County Commissioner Cumbria Scouts said, “I am extremely grateful that our Guiding friends have shared this opportunity with Scout leaders across the county. We, like the Guides, are very focussed on the safeguarding and wellbeing of our young people, as well as ensuring that our amazing volunteers are provided with the necessary skills and support. The Police and Crime Commissioner’s support in facilitating this training is a valuable addition to the training of our leaders.”

Nic Dunn, Children’s Services Manager at Barnardo’s said: “In today’s digital age and with young people spending more time on the internet and social media than ever before, children from all backgrounds have the potential to be susceptible to online grooming and exploitation. It’s vital that children are taught what a healthy relationship looks like so they understand what consent and respect mean, and we are pleased to be working with the PCC, Girlguiding Cumbria North and the Scouts to deliver this training.

“Barnardo’s Real Love Rocks equips young people with knowledge to navigate living in today’s society safely. The sessions teach young people, in an age appropriate way, about healthy relationships and how to spot the signs of sexual exploitation, so they can protect themselves from falling victim to it. This training is also part of wider preventative work Barnardo’s is carrying out across Cumbria.”

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