Partnership highlights child sexual exploitation

Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird

Published on 28 April 2016

Media students from the University have collaborated with Northumbria Police and Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird to help raise awareness of child sexual exploitation (CSE) through a series of impactful films.

To help highlight the issue Northumbria Police, PCC Vera Baird QC, Changing Lives, and Reach, challenged the students to create four short films – each one tackling a different area of CSE.

It follows on from similar successful projects over the last two years which have focused on the blurred lines of sexual consent, and domestic violence. The films will be used by Northumbria Police to train and educate people about recognising the signs and effects of CSE.

PCC Vera Baird said: "There’s some very positive work going on by Northumbria Police and partners to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation. We need to do all we can to keep building on this, encouraging people to spot the signs and to report any concerns to the police, and that’s where these films come in.

"Through their raw and often graphic content are some very important messages. I congratulate the students involved for their hard work – these excellent clips will play a key part in future training initiatives."

Michelle Sheridan, Protection of Vulnerable People Manager for Northumbria Police, said: "We do a lot of proactive engagement with partners and schools to help educate young people, parents, teachers and carers about the signs of CSE. We know it is a difficult topic to approach young people with but with early intervention it can help prevent offenders taking advantage of children.

"The videos the students have produced are excellent and will be a great resource to help with this engagement, and will hopefully lead to more people coming forward if they see something that doesn’t seem right."

Adelle Hulsmeier, Lecturer in Drama and Performing Arts at the University of Sunderland said: "It has been great to work with Northumbria Police for the third year running to create thought-provoking pieces that are tangible and have a purpose.

"We are continuously impressed with the mature and dedicated work the students produce, and had a fantastic evening showcasing and congratulating the students on this year's short films."

The short films were premiered at an awards evening at the University’s Media Centre on its St Peter’s Riverside Campus, and attended by PCC Vera Baird QC, and Assistant Chief Constable Darren Best.