Teenagers from Wolverhampton joined their counterparts from across the West Midlands to talk about how to they can help prevent and tackle child sexual exploitation.
They also debated how to challenge unacceptable behaviour in relationships at the event at MyPlace Youth Centre in Walsall which included young people from Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull and Walsall and supported by representatives from each local council.
Discussions from the day will help to shape a set of standards of behaviour all young people should expect from and display within relationships. These will be developed into a resource to be used in schools and youth settings to help others recognise and challenge unacceptable behaviour.
The event was organised by the regional CSE team, which through its awareness campaign See Me Hear Me is raising the profile of child sexual exploitation and how to spot the warning signs.
Emma Bennett, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Service Director for Children and Young People, said: “This was a great way to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation among teenagers and for them to agree upon the sort of standards all young people should be able to expect from relationships.
“Their discussions will be developed into a resource which will help tackle, very early on, the damaging attitudes that can underpin unhealthy relationships and fuel grooming, exploitation, abuse and violence in adolescence and later life.
“Those who took part will take back clear messages to their schools and communities and the resource itself will be a great addition to the regional awareness raising campaign See Me Hear Me.”
See Me, Hear Me was launched in 2014 by Wolverhampton, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall, Coventry, Birmingham and Solihull councils, along with West Midlands Police, to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation.
People can find out more information about child sexual exploitation by visiting www.seeme-hearme.org.uk.