An event is to be held in Huddersfield today aimed at raising awareness of the risks to children and young people with learning disabilities.
In particular it will examine how they can be safeguarded and what can be done in the future to make sure they are even safer.
Organised by West Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, it comes in the wake of a report called Unprotected:Overprotected, commissioned by Comic Relief and co-authored by the British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD), The Children’s Society, Barnardo’s, Coventry University, and Paradigm Research.
It looked at how to increase understanding around the sexual exploitation of children and young people with learning disabilities.
Mr Burns-Williamson said: “Any young person who has been a victim or a witness of sexual exploitation should have the confidence to come forward, trust their voice will be heard and be justified in believing that the responsible authorities will make sure they and others are kept safe.
“This conference will help frontline practitioners to share knowledge and experience and further strengthen how we work together to prevent abuse, protect those most at risk and prosecute those who offend. This will continue our vital work to keep our communities safer and feel safer.”
Assistant Chief Constable Russ Foster of West Yorkshire Police, said: “Detecting and preventing sexual abuse, particularly of children, is a key focus for West Yorkshire Police and has been now for some time.
“Young people with disabilities are amongst the most vulnerable people in our county and it is important we do all we can to protect them from harm.”
The event, hosted by the Kirklees Children Safeguarding Board, takes place at the Hudawi Centre.
There will be representatives from all five West Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Boards, police safeguarding officers and partner agencies including Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation (PACE), the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), The Children’s Society and Barnardo’s.