‘Peer on peer’ child exploitation highlighted as concern in the South West

March 18th, 2019 by

Children across the south west are victims of sexual exploitation.  But while media reports often highlight cases of adult grooming and child abuse, Devon and Cornwall Police say the most likely form of child sexual exploitation (CSE) in the south west is perpetrated by other young people.

It’s sometimes referred to as ‘peer on peer’ exploitation, and its victims are young males and young females.

“People may be unaware that CSE can be perpetrated by young people aged 18 or younger, and they themselves may also have been victims of CSE,” says Detective Chief Inspector Alison Lander, Devon & Cornwall Police and Force lead for CSE.

Recent research led by Plymouth’s Safeguarding Children’s Board found little awareness and understanding among young people of peer on peer sexual exploitation.

Their research showed that this form of exploitation in particular was not widely recognised or understood as a crime, which is preventing children from reporting it.

They found that young people are also not reporting sexual exploitation because they worry that doing so would lose them friendships; they’re concerned about how their parents might react; or that they’ll be seen as wasting police time.

Monday 18 March is a national awareness day for highlighting CSE.  Authorities across the South West are using the day to say to children and young people, “If you are put in a situation where you feel pressured sexually, please report it.  It’s OK to tell someone.”

Lisa, (not her real name).

Lisa is 15 years old and lives with her mother.  She began to go missing, leaving the house during the middle of the night to meet peers, and there were concerns about her drinking alcohol during while out.

Her behaviour in school and at home deteriorated with no clear reason.   Her mum found information on Lisa’s phone, indicating that she had become sexually active,  and having unprotected sex.

Lisa said that she’d exchanged indecent images of herself with some of boys at her school.

On occasions that she went missing, Lisa was drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis with her male friends.  She’d had sex with one of the boys while under the influence, and he’d told his friends about it.

Lisa started getting messages from other boys asking her to send pictures of herself in her underwear.  Lisa felt uncomfortable, but said ‘everyone sends nudes’.  And besides, she felt it was nice to have boys be interested in her in that way.

One boy said that he could get some cannabis, and he offered some to Lisa in exchange for sex.  She’s thought he was joking, but the boy repeated it a few times and on a later occasion with him, she went along with what he asked.

Regional Head of Service for the NSPCC, Sharon Copsey, says:  “Having early conversations about healthy relationships and consent is vital to tackling child sexual exploitation before it starts. We know that young people don’t always understand that what’s happening to them is abuse.”

Detective Chief Inspector Alison Lander, said: “Many young people who are being exploited do not realise they are at risk and will not ask for help.  Some may see themselves as willing participants in such abuse, not realising that what is happening to them is illegal.  It’s a difficult message to convey to young people, but it’s really important that they are aware of risk and how to avoid it.  Crucially they need to know how to report it, and to have confidence to do so.

“The public can really help us detect and prevent CSE among young people by knowing the signs and reporting any concerns they have.

“It’s not just parents, or teachers and carers who can help spot the signs of CSE.  Anyone working in a service industry, such as taxi drivers and hotel workers, shop keepers; anyone who may be able to spot vulnerable young people who may be at risk of exploitation or in an exploitative relationship – can also help to spot the signs and to report any concerns.”

Andy Bickley, Independent Chair of Plymouth Safeguarding Children’s Board, said: “We are committed to working with local organisations to tackle child sexual abuse and exploitation and CSE Day is the ideal opportunity to help improve awareness.

“This latest research shows that it isn’t just adults that exploit children and young people, it can also be their peers, so it’s really important that we make sure our young people know what the dangers are, and also what support is available.”

Schools across the South West and services that work with young people are actively raising awareness of CSE among young people.  Parents and guardians are being encouraged to do the same at home.

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Creating a ‘clean air generation’ of children and making sure new developments are clean by design

March 11th, 2019 by

Public Health England publishes air pollution evidence review

Public Health England (PHE) has today published a review of evidence on how to improve air quality in the United Kingdom.

The review informs local and national Government on actions to improve outdoor air quality and health.

Air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to health in the UK with between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths a year attributed to long-term exposure. There is strong evidence that air pollution causes the development of coronary heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and lung cancer, and exacerbates asthma.

Professor Paul Cosford, Director of Health Protection and Medical Director at PHE, said:

“Now is our opportunity to create a clean air generation of children by implementing interventions in a coordinated way. By making new developments clean by design we can create a better environment for everyone, especially our children.”

Key interventions local authorities can take include:

  • Promoting a step change in the uptake of low emission vehicles by setting more ambitious targets for electric car charging points as well as encouraging low emission fuels and electric cars
  • Boosting investment in clean public transport as well as foot and cycle paths to improve health
  • Redesigning cities so people aren’t so close to highly polluting roads – for example designing wider streets or considering using hedges to screen against pollutants when planning new infrastructure
  • Discouraging highly polluting vehicles from entering populated areas – for example with low emission or clean air zones

Professor Cosford said: “We recommend that at a local level, any new policy or programme of work which affects air pollution should aim to deliver an overall benefit to the public’s health. So transport and urban planners will need to work together with others involved in air pollution to ensure that new initiatives have a positive impact.

“Decision makers should carefully design policies to make sure that the poorest in society are protected against the financial implications of new schemes.”

National Government policy can support local actions by creating the right incentives. These include policies which promote vehicles with low exhaust emissions or allow controls on industrial emissions in populated areas to take account of health impacts.

Background

Public Health England was commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care to review the evidence for effective air quality interventions and provide practical recommendations for actions to improve air quality.

PHE’s review built on Defra / DfT’s ‘UK plan to reduce roadside NO2’ published in 2017 and NICE’s guidance on outdoor air pollution which focussed on transport related interventions, to include other pollutants and reviews of interventions in industry, agriculture, transport and planning and behavioural change.

PHE’s review supported the development of Defra’s final Clean Air Strategy published in January 2019.

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New on-island mental health service for the Isles of Scilly

March 8th, 2019 by

A nurse on the Isles of Scilly is providing a one stop mental health shop approach to reduce the number of trips people have to make to the mainland to manage their condition.

Jenny Candy has been employed as the islands’ dedicated senior mental health and community psychiatric nurse to give people the help they need on the islands, and reduce the number of people being admitted to hospital.

She will work alongside community groups, schools, GPs and businesses to help raise awareness about the support that’s available to islanders, and provide therapeutic services such as talking therapies to enhance the support that is already available.

This is the first time in history that Scillonians have had access to this type of mental health service based on-islands.

People will now only have to travel to the mainland if they need specialist acute mental health support.

Jenny’s post has been jointly commissioned by the Council of the Isles of Scilly and NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group, funded through the Better Care Fund, and is provided by Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFPT) and Outlook South West.

Councillor Adrian Davis, lead member for adults, said: “We are delighted to welcome Jenny, and know she will make a really valuable contribution to the health and wellbeing of Scillonians.

“We would like to thank residents who worked with the commissioners for their courage, honesty and generosity in describing their experiences which led to this dedicated post.

“The Council of the Isles of Scilly, the NHS, and Healthwatch Isles of Scilly have been working for a long time to secure this service, and we are delighted to see things come to fruition.”

Jenny’s work will ensure that there is a one stop shop approach for people experiencing poor mental health or at risk of hitting crisis point. She will work with colleagues in the health centre, hospital, social care, police and ambulance service, along with key employers to improve people’s emotional wellbeing.

She will work with adults with a range of wellbeing concerns, ranging from dementia, anxiety and depression.

Dr Paul Cook, NHS Kernow’s clinical lead for mental health, said: “I am really pleased that by working together we have been able to secure a dedicated nurse for the Isles of Scilly to support people to manage their mental health and help them avoid reaching crisis point.

“Being able to provide care closer to home and avoid unnecessary lengthy journeys to the mainland for support will have a really positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing.”

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Carbon monoxide detectors supplied by Wales and West Utilities

March 7th, 2019 by

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Community Safety Service (CFRCCS) has created a new partnership with Wales and West Utilities (WWU). WWU are the gas emergency and pipeline service that covers Wales and south west England and as part of their social obligation have joined with CFRCCS to help make Cornwall Safer.

As part of this new partnership, WWU have supplied CFRCSS with a number of Carbon Monoxide Detectors for staff to fit, in accordance with WWU criteria, when carrying out Home Fire Safety Checks (HFSC’s) or Living Safe and Well Visits (LSWV).

 

 

 

WWU criteria outlines that the free CO detectors will be available to people living with:

  • A serious health condition,
  • Mobility issues,
  • Living in a cold home,
  • Fuel poverty
  • Evidence of damp and condensation

When a Co detector is fitted in a home, a WWU Customer Survey form will be completed by the resident and the forms will then be returned to WWU to allow them to evaluate the effectiveness of the partnership in a bid to secure future free CO detectors for those people most in need in Cornwall.

For further information regarding this new partnership please contact Watch Manager Mark Grenfell: Mark.Grenfell@fire.cornwall.gov.uk

 

 

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Safer Cornwall Training Programme 2019-20

March 6th, 2019 by

Accessible training to help identify risk, reduce harm and support people in the process of change.

The DAAT offers a range of training opportunities to improve knowledge, skills, awareness and joint working across a range of areas, particularly mental health. The courses are available to internal and external staff and run throughout the year.

 

 

We offer the following courses:

  • Alcohol Identification and Brief Advice
  • Basic Drug Awareness
  • Connect 5 Mental Wellbeing Stage 1
  • Dual Diagnosis
  • Mental Health First Aid
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Time Credits and Supporting Asset Based Working
  • Young People’s Substance Awareness & Screening

For more information please visit our page here

Email: DAATevents@cornwall.gov.uk

Telephone: 01726 223400

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Infection Control for Injecting Drug Users January 2019

January 24th, 2019 by

PHE and Health Protection, Cornwall and Plymouth have issued the following notice:-

  • During 2018, we have received reports of invasive injection site infections from across the South West.  This has included an outbreak of iGAS and most recently two cases of rare Fusobacterium gonidiaformans.
  • Once individuals become infected their health can rapidly deteriorate particularly within the most vulnerable segments of this population, where the consequences can be life-threatening.
  • It is imperative that anyone working with injecting drug users delivers the full range of harm reduction information and advice  – particularly around the risks of injecting site infections.
  • Some drug users lick their needles after injecting believing that this sterilises. This increases risk, due to germs we all carry in the mouth that once they enter the bloodstream of injectors, become a new threat. Please reiterate that this is not a safe practice.
  • Encourage and facilitate users with signs of infection (attached) to get prompt medical attention.
  • Needle Exchange remains a critical component of the care pathway, and is an evidence based intervention supported by NICE and the UK clinical guidelines for substance misuse. Please do everything you can to support people to be aware of the risks of sharing or reusing equipment and to use new equipment every time.

A poster detailing key advice on safe injecting and infection control. Safe_injecting_poster

Hand washing video from Harm Reduction Works

Cleaning works: how to clean a used syringe Harm Reduction Works Video

 

Harm Reduction Works injecting and infections leaflet

 

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Cornwall Diversity Food Festival

November 9th, 2018 by

It’s time to celebrate food! Come along to the Cornwall Diversity Food Festival at New County Hall on 17th November.

From 11am the event will be open for people of all ages to enjoy and celebrate cultures and food from around the world. Find out more about this event from the poster attached.

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Reclaim the Night Cornwall – 01 December 2018

November 8th, 2018 by

01 December 2018 17:00 ~ Reclaim the Night Cornwall –

Reclaim the Night Cornwall is on Saturday 1st December, starting at 5pm at Truro Cathedral.

Candlelit vigil to honour women whose lives have been ended by male violence, followed by a march to demand safer streets and an end to violence against women.

16 days of Action from 25th November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to 10th December, Human Rights Day.

17:00 – Assemble at Truro Cathedral
17:15 – Candlelit vigial and choir (All welcome)
18:15 – March (Women only)
19:30 – End

Facebook 

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Chimney fire

October 3rd, 2018 by

Chimney Fire

A crew of six firefighters from Lostwithiel Community Fire Station were mobilised to a chimney fire on the evening of Monday 2 October within the town. After investigating they found the remains of a birds nest halfway up the chimney breast. Please can we ask you to endure your chimney is cleaned after the summer months ahead of the winter.

Thankfully this incident was contained but so often these types of incidents can escalate.

The following link contains safety advice: https://bit.ly/2fDP8rc

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Cornwall Faith Response Team Re-launch

October 3rd, 2018 by

Cornwall Council has had a Faith Response Team (CFRT) for several years but has now been re-launched, equipped, trained & prepared to respond effectively as required anywhere in Cornwall. People involved with or affected by an emergency may require pastoral, spiritual & practical support, especially where they are suffering through pain, sorrow, trauma, severe injury, loss of property or possessions or where people are missing.

Our Resilience & Emergency Management team recognises that such support can be provided by suitably trained volunteers, and now the team has been re-launched, equipped, trained and prepared to respond effectively as required anywhere in Cornwall.

The team will be mobilised if the Resilience & Emergency Management team become aware of an incident where such support is or may be required. The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust Spiritual & Pastoral Care Team will contact the necessary CFRT members & request their attendance at the incident location as required.

The training being provided to team members includes information about what to expect at such incident scenes, recognition of personal confidence, capabilities and limitations, understanding the various types of incident scenes, shelters and reception centres where they may need to interact with affected people and how they may support them.

Members of the CFRT are drawn from a wide range of faiths & beliefs including Christian, Judaism, Pagan and others. It is important to recognise the ecumenical strength of the team but they will provide support to anyone needing it.

Cornwall Council’s Senior Resilience Officer, Martin Rawling said: “I am humbled by the willingness of our volunteers to step into the unknown and support their fellow beings in such circumstances of terror, loss and suffering. We are grateful to our volunteers for committing to this task and I sincerely hope that we never have to call on their support; but I am absolutely confident that they will respond appropriately when asked.
“Bringing the team together, working on the procedures for the group and co-ordinating the team and their training has fallen to a handful of the volunteers themselves who have stepped forward to become the management group. The residents and visitors to Cornwall are right to be proud of this commitment and the work they have undertaken on our behalf.”

The re-launch took place on 17 September

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Safer Cornwall are a working partnership involving: