An educative application has been developed and launched by a Keighley resident who hopes to tackle some of the biggest issues surrounding the taboo subject of sexual grooming.
It is a problem which affects all communities and is tackled by police officers on a daily basis, yet the fact of the matter is that sexual grooming continues to take place away from the public eye.
Shakeel Aziz, a youth worker from Bradford, decided he would tackle the problem from its early stages, and so launched the SGA app to warn of signs which suggest a child is being groomed.
The phone application is available to download for your mobile device and provides short, concise to the point information and awareness on the crime of sexual grooming in a question and answer format.
For Shakeel, the chance to help raise awareness on such a difficult subject is something he believes must be taken, and explained how the app was developed.
“As a youth development worker, any issues which involve the development and protection of young people is close to my heart,” he said.
“This specific issue I have been working on for many years on the foundations of basic youth development work on 'Sex and Relationships Education'.
“Technically, me and many other youth workers have been working on this subject way before the high profile grooming cases hit the media headlines.
“I believe it is a moral responsibility for us all to tackle and challenge social problems in any way we can, and for me, as a Muslim, it is my religious duty to confront problems and social challenges.”
Research done prior to the launch of the app highlighted the need to create awareness of the signs of sexual grooming according to Shakeel.
Many families, whose children had fallen victim to the crime, were apparently unaware of the signs which could be spotted, whilst research also showed that many young people themselves were oblivious to the matter.
Not only does Shakeel hope that the app will be used by parents, but also insists that the technology could be utilised perfectly in schools to alert all demographics in society.
He said: “I hope it will be used by anyone and everyone in our societies. Sexual grooming is an issue which we should be confronting and tackling.
“I hope that schools, national charities and organisations will use the app to firstly equip themselves with the information, and then break down the information for young people.”
He added: “The app version is a fantastic vehicle to create awareness because the majority of us have access to smartphone and apps.”
The SGA app can be downloaded now from your mobile device for £1.49, with funds going to the Star Youth Project as well as being used to continue to raise awareness of sexual grooming.