A new report commissioned by Ilkley-based Virtual College’s Safeguarding Children e-Academy and Leeds-based Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation (Pace), has revealed that parents’ lack of knowledge is severely hampering efforts to combat child sexual exploitation.

The YouGov survey of 945 teachers, social workers and police officers has pinpointed a lack of parental education as an important factor. Sixty-two per cent of those questioned also indicated that they did not think schools were doing enough to educate parents in spotting the signs of child sexual exploitation.

In response to the lack of easy access for parents to appropriate learning resources, Safeguarding Children e-Academy and Pace have released a free short online course called Keep them Safe. The course aims to equip parents and carers with the knowledge they need to recognise the signs of child sexual exploitation and who to contact if they have any suspicions. More than 1,000 people have already accessed the free resource.

A parent whose family has been affected by child sexual exploitation said: “I feel excited that something like this is available and I only wish it was done years back.”

To access the course, visit keepthemsafe.safeguardingchildrenea.co.uk.