Making sure our children are safe is a priority for Oldham Council.
That’s why we and our partners are taking part in a Greater Manchester wide week of action to raise awareness of child exploitation.
The message of the campaign is simple – any person under the age of 18 years of age is still a child and they are vulnerable to exploitation.
Officers from across various departments are working with Oldham Challenger Team and Oldham Intelligence HUB to identity disruption and enforcement opportunities, focussing on, but not limited to, possible cannabis farms, nail bars, brothels, car washes and massage parlours.
Councillor Amanda Chadderton, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “Oldham Council has no greater responsibility than protecting Oldham’s children and young people and those who are vulnerable from harm.
“That is why we have arranged a range of awareness events and training opportunities for various organisations across the borough for this week of action.
“The job of keeping our children safe requires input from a range of agencies who all work together to keep prevent, disrupt and protect our children and young people from criminal exploitation.”
Our social care and youth attachment team have been on hand at various tram stops during peak times running enforcement activities.
Positive Steps have been further raising awareness of the campaign by giving out leaflets within areas across Oldham. Staff from the Oldham Challenger Team also visited all children’s homes across the week to ensure that each one has an up to date information on CSE and CCE.
On Monday our specialist CSE nurse ensured relevant, updated information, was provided to all GP surgeries, pharmacies and dentists.
Oldham Athletic helped further spread the messages on Tuesday 8 October at their clash with Accrington Stanley when their players wore ‘It’s Not Okay’ T-shirts.
Staff from Oldham Council Children’s services engaged with residents at the Royal Oldham Hospital on Wednesday with a day of awareness raising. The team were on hand to answer any questions and provide valuable advice on the dangers of exploitation.
Positive Steps staff also hosted a stall to again raise further awareness as part of the wider campaign and the dangers of exploitation young children.
To show Oldham’s commitment to supporting vulnerable children staff were based at the Civic Centre on Thursday 10 October with the aim of promoting the Cooperate Parenting offer to staff and Oldham Council’s responsibility to protect young people across the borough.
To make sure all schools are trained in online safety our Phoenix CSC staff visited all secondary schools in the borough on Friday 10 October to promote ‘digital parenting’. Put together by Vodafone, the free online safety guide is packed with important safety information and expert advice on issues such as healthy screen time and sleep.
Helping to promote the campaign throughout Oldham town centre, our teams hosted a stall at Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre to help engage shoppers in the conversation.
Following on from this, and to ensure that security in Spindles know what the signs of exploitation are, we have also organised training which will take place across the week commencing the Monday 14 October.
Saturday 12 October will see an evening of policing across the borough and the weekend with the Week of Action Team taking part in the weekly park run at Alexandrea Park to raise awareness about what they do on a daily basis – if you see them say hello and stop for a chat.