Sporting heroes from the Welsh national rugby squad have given their support to an all Wales campaign to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation.
Players support an all Wales campaign to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation
Players from the current Wales squad have produced two short films, in English and Welsh, aimed at making people more aware of the tell-tale signs that something may be wrong.
The films, which will be shown for the first time at the Wales v France RBS 6 Nations game at the Millennium Stadium on Friday, February 21, are part of a campaign called ‘The More You Know’ which is being run across all four Welsh police force areas.
Members of the squad, including Captain Sam Warburton, Rhys Priestland, George North and Mike Phillips help to deliver a powerful message that sexual exploitation is child abuse which puts young victims at huge risk of damage to their physical, emotional and psychological health.
A key message of the campaign is that many young people who are being abused don’t realise that they are at risk and don’t call for help and whilst there is no stereotypical victim of exploitation there are warning signs in children’s behaviour that may indicate something is wrong.
Assistant Chief Constable Liane James, Specialist Crime, says
“South Wales Police is committed to protecting children from harm and prosecuting those who commit sexual crimes against them. Raising public awareness of child sexual exploitation is key to our achieving this, as we rely on the public’s support in identifying and reporting suspicious activity.
“We are delighted to be working with the other Welsh police forces, the WRU and stakeholders to help the public better understand what child sexual exploitation is and how they can help us safeguard vulnerable young people.”
Detective Superintendent John Hanson of North Wales Police adds
“If people know what to look out for they can take steps to help a child that is being exploited. People young and old listen to their sporting icons and we are very grateful to the WRU for agreeing to help us deliver these important messages.”
The campaign forms part of the work that Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards across Wales are committed to, and is supported by a number of national organisations.
WRU Group Chief Executive Roger Lewis says
“The WRU has developed a first class approach to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults within our game.
“But awareness is a key part of the hard work that is done in this field and we are proud to be able to support such an important campaign today.
“We are committed to evolving our approach to safeguarding and supporting our clubs through the WRU Club Operators Team. We have an experienced Safeguarding Advisor who is based in the Club Operations Team, and works alongside the 300 Club Safeguarding Officers across Wales.
“One of the key principles of effective safeguarding is working together and this project is a great example of this, as a collaboration between all the safeguarding stakeholders across Wales, the four Welsh police forces, the Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards and Welsh Rugby Union.”
Jeremy Rogers, WRU Club Operations Advisor – Safeguarding says
“This project underlines our commitment to working together to ensure that we do everything we can to raise awareness on this important subject.
“The safeguarding officers in our clubs are all volunteers and they play an integral part in ensuring that we provide a safe and positive environment for the next generation of players and volunteers in Welsh rugby.
“The WRU supports these officers and, for example, next month we’ll be delivering a series of safeguarding training events across Wales in conjunction with the NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit.”
The More You Know campaign also has a dedicated website with more information on what to look out for and what to do if you think something is not right. The site also contains a number of victims’ accounts of their own experiences – www.themoreyouknow.org.uk