Festival-goers urged to be vigilant of child sexual exploitation

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Barnardo's issues warning as festival season enters full swing.

15th July 2019 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

With festival season now well under way, a children’s charity is reminding young people to keep safe and look after each other.

Barnardo’s Scotland has joined forces with Police Scotland and Crimestoppers to warn young people to stay vigilant when attending concerts, festivals and gala day events across Scotland and the UK.

They have also urged members of the public, including bar staff and stewards, to look out for signs of child sexual exploitation (CSE) taking place at music or public events - especially where alcohol is being served.

The charity said it was issuing the warning to ensure everyone attending major events has a good time while also staying safe.

It comes after research suggested there was a “relatively low” understanding of the current level and nature of CSE in Scotland, as well as a failure to recognise that 16 and 17-year-olds can be victims. 

Daljeet Dagon, national programme manager for CSE for Barnardo’s Scotland, said: “During the festive period Barnardo’s Scotland set up an anonymous Hotline as a joint initiative between Crimestoppers and Police Scotland to allow the public, and those working within the night time economy, where alcohol is prevalent, to share information and any concerns they have – but the risks apply equally during the day especially at events where alcohol is being served and people are off-guard, having fun.

“If you see an adult who is sober giving a young person drink, if you have any worries or concerns around any suspicious activity that could be linked to CSE then use the Hotline to share the information”.

Anyone with information on suspicious activity relating to CSE can call the Nightwatch Hotline anonymously on 0800 389 0131.