Argyll and Bute residents are urged to play their part in protecting children and young people from harm.
The Argyll and Bute Child Protection Committee is asking people to take responsibility for making sure children stay safe.
It wants residents to tell our child protection team if they are concerned about a child who may be at risk.
The Child Protection Campaign aims to inform parents, people who work with young people and families, young people themselves and the wider public, on recognising that they need to act to protect children at risk of child sexual exploitation.
Policy Lead for Health and Social Care, Councillor Kieron Green, said: “Protecting children and young people and keeping them safe is something everyone needs to step up and take responsibility for.
“We often think we are interfering, or possibly in the wrong, if we suspect something isn’t right in our communities. We may not want to be the one to pick up the phone, or we may assume someone else will.
“However, doing nothing is not an option – the safety of our youngest residents is paramount. We need you to act quickly and pass on your concerns.
“All of us – families, neighbours, professionals and members of communities – play a vital role in protecting children. Fortunately, most children in our society grow up in a safe, protected environment, but sadly a minority do not.
“They need us to work together to protect and support them – it is our duty. Anyone with concerns must not hesitate to get in touch with our child protection team.”
The campaign is being launched because there is more public awareness of child sexual exploitation following recent high-profile cases, including in Newcastle and Rotherham. It aims to let people who are now more aware of it know what to do if they have concerns about someone.
New guidance on child sexual exploitation is now available, on the Council’s website and in leaflets. It has been specifically tailored to children and young people, parents and carers, professionals who work with young people and hotel and accommodation providers.
It outlines what child sexual exploitation is, the signs to look out for and how to avoid it happening, and includes useful links to advice from other organisations such as the NSPCC.
Chair of the Child Protection Committee, Moira McKinnon, said: “Local residents do contact us about members of our communities who may be at risk of harm. That’s how we can work together to support and protect them.
“Please make sure you do the same. We need your help to help our most vulnerable.”
Anyone who wants to tell the child protection team about concerns for a young person should call them on 01546 605517. Reports can also be made online via our website – www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/abcpc – where comprehensive advice is available.
If you believe someone is in imminent danger, always alert the police on 999.
The Argyll and Bute Child Protection Committee brings together all the organisations involved in protecting children in the area.