‘Are you Listening?’, Leicestershire’s film about how to spot the signs of children being exploited by criminal gangs, has won a prestigious Royal Television Society Midlands Award for Best Promotional Content.
The two-minute film was commissioned and funded by Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland’s’ Violence Reduction Network (VRN) working with Leicestershire Police, to highlight some of the crimes children and young people can become involved in, as well as some of the signs which could indicate a child is being exploited. It was created by Affixxius Films who also made the force's other award-winning films – Kayleigh's Love Story and Breck's Last Game.
‘Are You Listening?’ focuses on four fictional stories about children who are being exploited by older people and are caught up in criminality as a result. The film uses the idea of ‘listening’ – the signs of CCE are made so obvious to the adults, yet they fail to really listen to what they are being told or what is right in front of them.
Since it launched a year ago in November 2020, ‘Are You Listening?’ has been viewed 4.8 million times and has been adopted by other forces and a wide range of partners who work in the field of safeguarding children. It is also played in a series of online workshops aimed at helping trusted adults spot the signs of vulnerability, encourage reporting and help bring offenders to justice. More than 2,300 teachers, and other professionals who work with young people, have attended a workshop delivered by Leicestershire Police in the last twelve months.
Grace Strong, Strategic Director from the Violence Reduction Network, said; “We invested in this film because we know trusted adults can play such an important role in keeping our young people safe but they need the knowledge and confidence to spot the signs and take action. This film achieves this in a really impactful way and also signposts people to further information and help.”
Rupert Matthews, Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, who chairs the VRN’s Board, said: “This award is testament to the quality of the film and its’ messages. Huge congratulations to everyone involved in the production with Grace and her team.”
Since the film was launched, the number of cases referred to local Child Criminal Exploitation Team has tripled.
The most common crimes children are encouraged or forced to be involved in include: selling drugs (often as part of county lines activity), carrying or storing drugs or money, carrying or storing a knife, gun or other weapon and committing theft, burglary or robbery.
Detective Chief Inspector Gavin Drummond from the force’s Violence and Complex Crime Unit, said; “The criminal exploitation of children is a complicated issue partly because an exploited child often doesn’t see themselves as being victimised and, as such, they don’t always look or act like a victim. We realised that there was very little information available about the issue so decided we needed to create something bespoke and cutting edge to get the message across. I am delighted for the force, and Affixxius Films, that Are You Listening? has received the recognition it deserves for tackling a sensitive subject matter so effectively.”
Tim Cabrelli from Affixxius said: “It’s great to see this piece of work get further recognition it deserves. We’re incredibly proud of the way it came out and especially the impact it’s having on the audience it’s aimed at.”
Where to go for help and advice
Anyone who has concerns about a young person being criminally exploited by older people should call police on 101 or report their concerns online. For more information visit www.leics.police.uk/areyoulistening
There is a new website specifically for young people and parents to get help and advice on how to stay safe in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Making our community a safe place to live - LiveSafe.