Throughout September 2021 Clubs and Teams from Cumberland got involved to help raise awareness of child exploitation with a photo competition that reached more than 2 million people.
Adult and Youth Teams across the County got involved to highlight the message and have the conversations, with the chance to win a brand-new Nike kit!
Following on from a successful partnership with Cumbria Police during the 2019-20 season highlighting the campaign to confront, reduce and raise awareness of Domestic Abuse in Cumbria; Cumberland FA along with Lancashire FA and Westmorland FA joined forces with Cumbria Police again to use the power of football to raise the profile of the ‘It’s Not OK’ campaign across the local grassroots football community and beyond.
Cumbria Safeguarding Children’s Partnership (CSCP) and the NSPCC’s ‘It’s Not OK’ campaign, focused on a football team photo highlighting the fact that ‘It’s Not Ok to Turn Your Back on Child Exploitation’.
26 Teams from across the County got involved and shared their photos during the competition window, turning their backs for the camera sparking the conversation that “Its Not Ok to turn your back on child exploitation.”
During the competition window parents and care givers were encouraged, regardless of whether their child’s team entered 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.
Detective Inspector Matthew Belshaw commented on the winning photo “With a beautiful backdrop; we liked the composition, the togetherness and the message that everyone is thinking that it’s not ok to turn your back on exploitation”
The photo competition was the icing on the cake to a successful campaign to highlight and educate our communities around child exploitation, the signs to look out for and agencies who are there to help.
I would like to thank all those who got involved, and took the time to think about, and spread the learning and messages Cumbria Police and partners were highlighting in order to put a stop to child exploitation within our communities.
With the help of everyone involved, the Stanwix Girls and Ladies can continue to spread our message that IT”S NOT OK TO TURN YOUR BACK ON EXPLOITATION with the message proudly displayed on their prize kit.
The ITS NOT OK campaign is a wonderful example of how the police, partners, and communities can work together to keep people safe.”
Watch the video from Cumbria Police announcing the winners
Ben Snowdon, CEO for Cumberland FA said “We were delighted to team up with Cumbria Police once again and share the important messages to support our grassroots football community. We recently delivered the winning kit with the Its Not OK logo to the winners Stanwix.”
Stanwix FC Club Secretary Suzanne told us "We entered the competition to promote the #ItsNotOK campaign because it is such an important message. We were delighted that our photo was chosen as the winner and the girls will be proud to wear the new kit with the #ItsNotOK logo!"
Although the competition is now finished, the messages are still important, and the football community are urged to continue to have these conversations.
• 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 https://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.
Visit the It's Not OK information from Cumbria Safeguarding Children Partnership
• 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: