A competition launches aiming to use the positive power of sport to raise further awareness of child exploitation.
The competition through Cumbria Safeguarding Children’s Partnership (CSCP) and the NSPCC’s ‘It’s Not OK’ campaign, focuses on a football team photo and is titled: ‘It’s Not Ok to Turn Your Back on Child Exploitation’.
The competition is Being Run Online, supported by the Cumberland FA, Lancashire FA and Westmorland FA using two hashtags #ItsNotOktoturnyourbackonexploitation and #Itsnotok
Open to all football teams across Cumbria, entries can be submitted throughout September 2021, by posting their entry onto their social media accounts, including the competition’s hashtags in the text of the post and tagging @CumbriaPolice and @CumbriaSCP on Twitter or @CumbriaCops on Instagram.
To enter, teams will need to submit a picture of their team’s backs or turning their backs.
This image is a representation of them taking a stand against child exploitation by raising awareness through the competition and pledging not to turn their backs should they have concerns.
The winners will be announced via the CSCP Twitter account in October 2021 and will receive a team Nike Park VII strip sponsored by the It’s Not Ok campaign.
Through this competition, parents and care givers are being encouraged, regardless of whether their child’s team enters the competition or not, to discuss what child exploitation is, with their child (if deemed age appropriate by parent/care giver), and what to do if they are concerned about themselves or a friend.
• Information on child exploitation for young people can be found at: Child trafficking | Childline
• Information for parents and care givers can be found at: Child Sexual Exploitation & How to Keep Your Child Safe | NSPCC
• A wealth of material for adults and young people can also be found by visiting www.cumbriasafeguardingchildren.co.uk or by searching #ItsNotOk on Cumbria Police’s social media channels.
The It’s Not Ok campaign, was initiated in October 2020, to raise awareness of child exploitation within the Cumbrian community. It has provided accessible resources on child exploitation to increase understanding and confidence in the public, to speak up if they have concerns regarding a potential victim or offender.
Child exploitation includes a range of exploitive crimes against children, such as sexual and criminal exploitation which includes modern day slavery and county lines drugs trafficking.
Exploitation affects young people of all ages and can happen anywhere. There are children as young as ten in Cumbria, who are being put in danger by criminals exploiting their vulnerability.
Detective Inspector Matt Belshaw, a public protection unit lead for Cumbria Constabulary and CSCP board member said:
“Child exploitation can devastate a young person’s life, negatively changing their course completely. That is why the It’s Not Ok campaign is so important.
“It is incredible to have the three local County FA’s support for this campaign and competition. Their work positively impacts the lives of thousands of people. With their support the campaign’s message will reach more people using the power of sport.
“We need to keep raising awareness about this awful crime. Giving people knowledge and understanding can increase their confidence in speaking out.
“Anyone and everyone has the potential to recognise the signs of a young person who may be being exploited and to also identify those who will or are exploiting others.
“This competition is a great opportunity to further increase awareness on Child Exploitation and the signs within the public, especially young people.
“If you have concerns about exploitation effecting yourself or someone you know, then I would urge you to contact the police or the NSPCC. You could also speak to your parents, a teacher, coach or an adult you trust. Please don’t turn your back though, we can all help to stop child exploitation.”
Ben Snowdon, Chief Executive Officer of Cumberland FA said:
“On behalf of Cumberland FA, Lancashire FA and Westmorland FAs we are delighted to support the Cumbria Safeguarding Children’s Partnership and the NSPCC with this competition and their It’s Not Ok campaign.
“With thousands of players registered in Cumbria, we are calling for all of our member clubs and officials, as well as the wider community, to say ‘It’s Not OK’ to turn your back on child exploitation.
“Everyone can play their part in protecting young people from harm by being able to recognise the signs of exploitation and know the steps to take to help a young person that may be being exploited to try and prevent this often hidden crime from occurring”.
About the competition:
To enter the competition, football teams are asked to highlight that ‘It’s Not OK’ to turn your back on ‘child exploitation’ and to take a stand, by taking a picture of your team/players with their backs turned or turning their backs.
Please note, to allow for any permissions concerns or absences, the picture need to include more than half of a team’s players to be accepted. The full team is encouraged to take part where possible. View the Terms & Conditions of the competition
Pictures should then be uploaded to social media on the teams Twitter or Instagram accounts using the hashtags #Itsnotoktoturnyourbackonexploitation and #Itsnotok and tagging @CumbriaPolice and @CumbriaSCP on Twitter or @CumbriaCops on Instagram.
Entries can be uploaded throughout September 2021 and the winner will be announced via the CSCP Twitter account @CumbriaSCP by October 10th.
Signs of child exploitation:
• Becoming isolated and spending little time with family or friends
• Physical signs of abuse
• Alcohol or drug misuse
• Being frightened of some people, places or situations
• Bring secretive
• Sharp changes in mood or character
• Having money or things they can't or won't explain
• Travelling alone, particularly in school hours, late at night or frequently
• Being instructed or controlled by another individual
• Looking lost or in unfamiliar surroundings
• Being prevented from working or going to school or college or feeling reluctant to go to school
• Persistent changes to a child's mood or behaviour can also be a sign that something's wrong
• Unhealthy or inappropriate sexual behaviour
• Sexually transmitted infections
If you have concerns that a child might be being exploited, contact the NSPCC helpline for support and advice for free on 0808 800 5000.
Children can contact ChildLine on 0800 1111.
To report a crime, contact police via 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.
Each local County FA has a designated safeguarding e-mail address for football matters:
Terms and conditions of the competition can be found here.
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