Vera Baird supports new helpline

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird is supporting a new helpline targeted at children and young people with concerns about child sexual exploitation involving themselves or others.

Launched yesterday, the helpline will give callers advice and, where appropriate, necessary or requested, access to the police to ensure protection and safeguarding.

The helpline is run by the charity Missing People, in association with the National Working Group Network, and is funded by the Department for Education.

Young people will be able to phone or text a national, free and anonymous helpline on 116 000.

Ms Baird said: “I wholeheartedly welcome any service which helps generate additional information about exploitation in our area. It will allow officers to act swiftly if a young person is in imminent danger, while also keeping the confidence of the caller.

“Many youngsters are wary of reporting concerns. Our officers will encourage the use of this helpline to those who aren’t able to be fully open about what is happening to themselves or their friends.

“Putting victims first is a top priority for Northumbria Police, as outlined in my police and crime plan. Working closely with partners in this way will be beneficial to supporting victims and giving them access to the support they need. A new way of reporting worries anonymously will hopefully result in more children being safeguarded from exploitation and abuse.”