Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a terrible crime with destructive and far reaching consequences for victims, their families, and society. Protecting children from harm is one of the most important things we as a society have a responsibility to do. Stamping out CSE is a priority for Government but without the help of the wider community it is an uphill struggle. It is therefore important that we raise awareness of this type of abuse to ensure we can prevent it or stop it early when it does happen.
Government Departments have taken a joint approach to tackle this problem and the Department for Infrastructure, the Department of Health (DoH) and Health and Social Care (HSC) along with the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI) have been working together on a safeguarding project to help people who work at night to be more aware about child sexual exploitation (CSE) and be able to help children and young people, who they come into contact with through their work, who may be at risk of sexual exploitation. It has therefore been agreed that future procurement exercises for HSC taxi services will require taxi drivers to have received CSE awareness training.
Taxi drivers are in an ideal position to play a key role in helping to protect vulnerable young people. In their work, they may see or suspect cases of child sexual exploitation but do not know what to do with any concerns they may have. All taxi drivers in Northern Ireland must complete 35 hours periodic training every five years. This training can cover a range of subjects ranging from Vehicles Systems to Personal Health and Wellbeing. The Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA), responsible for periodic training, believe that CSE training fits in well with taxi driver periodic training and as such it will now be included as a subject area within taxi periodic training syllabus. This move will ensure that no additional expense will be incurred by taxi drivers who take CSE awareness training as part of their mandatory 35 hours periodic training.
Raising CSE Awareness within the taxi industry will help drivers understand the complexities involved with child sexual exploitation issues and be aware of how to recognise, respond and report it. The DVA would encourage training providers when they are developing taxi driver periodic training courses to consider including CSE as a topic within a course or a specific course which will provide essential information to help taxi drivers identify potential CSE and how to respond to concerns.
The DVA, DoH and the Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (SBNI) have developed guidance and course specification for trainers to ensure that they provide the most up to date training information about recognising, responding and reporting any concerns drivers may have about child sexual exploitation. The guidance can be found on the JAUPT website by clicking on the following link /media/723074/taxi-driver-cse-awareness-training-course-specification-version-3.pdf and is attached for reference.
Please note the TDPT Course Application Form has been updated to include CSE and this can be found here: /media/722942/tdpt-application-18012018.pdf