Children’s charity Barnardo’s and Microsoft have jointly launched an app called ”Wud u?”, aimed at raising awareness of child sex exploitation. The free app is targeted at professionals such as teachers and social workers for use in helping children to identify potentially dangerous situations that they may find themselves in and teaching them to make safer decisions.

The app works by presenting children with various scenarios and asked what they would do if they found themselves in that situation. They then receive feedback as to whether they have made a good or bad choice and why.

Child sex exploitation occurs when a child is offered something in return for engaging in sexual activities with the abuser. This reward can be anything – food, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, gifts, even affection. The key is that the abuser has some form of power over the child – age, status, physical size, resources, etc.

Last year Barnardo’s services worked with 1,940 children and young people who had been sexually exploited, but the true figure will be considerably higher. It is something of a hidden issue, and one which often affects the most vulnerable children in society. The pain of their experience coupled with the fear they will not be believed often prevents a victim telling anyone about what has happened to them.

Barnardo’s director Michelle Lee-Izu commented:

“A vital part of empowering children to protect themselves against sexual exploitation is getting young people to think for themselves which scenarios might put them at risk.

“We want all children to be able to identify what a healthy relationship looks like, so that when they are with a partner, at a party or just chatting on-line they make good decisions.”

Farleys has a specialist team of child abuse solicitors who help victims of abuse to claim compensation. For more information or for a free discussion about whether you can make a claim, please contact us today.