Child Exploitation Awareness Event in Memory of Bournemouth Boy
A CONFERENCE focusing on child exploitation and county boundary awareness was held in memory of a 13-year-old boy who died after taking MDMA.
Charity Escapeline has run the full day program at Bournemouth University, which is aimed at professionals in Dorset who work with children of all ages.
The December 7 event will be in memory of Mehmet Altun, who died last year after falling ill and becoming unconscious at his home in Bournemouth.
Following an inquest into his death in August, Mehmet’s family said more needed to be done to protect children from exploitation by criminal gangs.
Speaking about the conference, Mehmet’s sister, Yaz, who works at Escapeline, said, “Our goal is to train professionals and raise awareness about child exploitation, which involves criminal, sexual and financial exploitation.
“As a charity, one of our main targets when it comes to child exploitation is the ongoing county boundary issue. We think there is a lack of knowledge and understanding in the Southwest about this.
The conference is aimed at police officers, social workers, teachers, educators, nurses, general practitioners, support workers, school leaders.
Escapeline recommends that professionals assist with outreach and identify vulnerable young people in order to provide them with the support they need.
The event in the Fusion building on the university’s Talbot campus will be opened by Dorset and Crime Commissioner David Sidwick.
There will also be a talk by Sammy Woodhouse, a campaigner against child sexual exploitation and abuse, who was a victim of the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal.
A representative from Dorset Police, specializing in county lines, will share the work that police are doing in Dorset to tackle organized drug crime, while the Escapeline team will provide training on the issues keys.
Yaz said: “The conference intends to focus on balancing factual information provided by experts in the field, as well as the real stories and experiences of those who have been exposed to child exploitation in the counties.
“Guests will hear from a range of professional and expert speakers by experience.”
All ticket costs go toward education and youth and parent workshops. For more details and to purchase a ticket, visit eventbrite.co.uk/e/preventing-child-exploitation-and-county-lines-dorset-2022-tickets-445170024527