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VIDEO: Cornish Children At Risk Of Sexual Exploitation

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Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 6:04am 29th August 2014 (Updated 8:34am 29th August 2014)

Pirate FM can reveal more than 90 children in Cornwall are at risk of sexual exploitation.

The youngest was just twelve.

The figures have come out after 1,400 youngsters were abused in Rotherham.

The Safeguarding Children Unit at Cornwall Council says it has received 31 requests for youngsters to be discussed at Child Sexual Exploitation meetings since the start of 2014.

Last year there were another 60.

But it is feared more cases are going unreported because the victims are suffering in silence.

Rosie grew up in the Duchy and has told Pirate FM what happened to her: "I was a victim of childhood sexual abuse and domestic violence from the ages of 7 to 13.

"I left this situation when I was 13 but the real support only started when I was 21, so all that time in between I didn't feel supported.

"It took me years to tell someone I was sexually abused by someone who was supposed to be my dad.

"As the years have gone on it has become more normalised in society. We need to question it and we need to stand up for people who are being abused."

Sally Piper from sexual abuse charity Skoodhya says a big warning sign is if children go missing from home.

She tells us they can be drawn to the attention, she said: "A lot of them will be children who have struggles anyway, they may not be attending school all the time, may have problems at home, a big proportion of children who are liable to be exploited are living in homes where there is domestic abuse going on, drug or alcohol abuse by their parents.

"They may well end up with very serious mental health issues, certainly emotional damage, and also they may go on to be drug addicts or addicted to alcohol, because of the exploitation that has occured to them."

For more information or advice you can contact Skoodhya on 01209 203 969.

If you want to talk to someone about something that is happening to you, you can call Childline free and in confidence on 0800 1111.

Experts say there are some things we can do to stop predators targeting our children...

1. Find out and pay attention to who is in your child's life. That includes teachers, assistants, club leaders, day care providers etc.

2. Pay unannounced visits regularly and ask questions about what you see and hear happening.

3. Talk to your children about what sort of touching is right and what is wrong. Let them know the danger signs of grooming and make sure they know they can tell you if anything ever makes them feel uncomfortable.

You can find out more from the NSPCC here.

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