A pilot project to support and protect children and young people in Derby’s new communities who are victims of or at risk of child sexual exploitation (CSE) has been extended.
Specialist local charity Safe and Sound has been part of a wider Government-funded project, led by Derby City Council, to support new communities in the city from, for example, Eastern Europe, with issues they face such as sexual exploitation, education, housing and modern slavery.
Funding for the project has now been extended for a further 12 months to ensure that more young people and their families can be supported and that awareness about CSE is further extended across local communities.
In the past year, the charity has worked with more than 20 children and young people aged 18 and under. They have faced issues ranging from being at risk of online grooming to trafficking.
Another key aspect of the project has been to raise awareness amongst new communities about CSE and the dangers facing young people both physically and online.
More than 40 awareness sessions have been held and special training has been completed for ten community leaders and workers to further spread information about the issue and the support available in the city.
Safe and Sound chief executive Tracy Harrison explained: “Families from Eastern European countries in particular often come from largely rural communities and living in a city can, therefore, be very alien to their culture.
“When we started the project, it soon became evident that new communities in the city were unaware of the grooming tactics used by perpetrators. This has been compounded by the language barriers they face and their reluctance to engage with authorities who can support them.
“These factors therefore make their children and young people extremely vulnerable to sexual exploitation.”
She continued: “Our aim has been to firstly directly support those young people who are already being groomed or who are regarded as at particular risk of such exploitation and to keep them safe.
“We have also made good inroads in raising awareness across new communities of CSE and to build their trust in Safe and Sound who can support young people and their families.
“By raising awareness of the dangers facing young people, we are now contacted by fellow professionals, schools and families themselves who better recognise the warning signs of grooming and exploitation.
“This increased awareness enables us to identify and work one to one with young people to help them recognise unhealthy and exploitative relationships, build their confidence and resilience and better protect them from these predators.
“By working in partnership with fellow professionals and the communities themselves, we are making significant progress in transforming the lives of young people so that they can build stronger wings to grow up safely in our local communities.”
Safe and Sound’s work with new communities in the operates alongside the charity’s wider project across Derbyshire, funded by Children in Need.
The project provides support for children and young people at risk of child sexual exploitation and raise awareness of the issue amongst local communities.
The charity recently launched a year-long Butterfly Appeal to raise vital funds to further expand its work across the city and county.
Future plans include launching new services such as outreach work, family support, youth work programmes, psychological therapy, longer term support for survivors and an expanded community education programme.
For more information about Safe and Support can help and how to support the charity’s work in Derbyshire, please visit www.safeandsoundgroup.org and follow on Facebook and Twitter @safeandsoundgroup #BuildingStrongerWings or email [email protected]
Media enquiries: Sarah Jenkin-Jones, JJPR, Tel: 01332 515102/07951 945665; [email protected]
About Safe and Sound and the Butterfly Appeal
Safe and Sound was launched in 2002 and is the only local charity that is totally focused on transforming the lives of thousands of children and young people who are victims or are at risk of child sexual exploitation across Derbyshire.
Safe and Sound’s expertise came to the fore during the 2010 landmark case – Operation Retriever – which was Derby’s first prosecution for child sexual exploitation and abuse. The charity’s specialist team supported every young person affected by the criminal actions of 13 defendants who were jailed in total for up to 22 years for 70 offences.
Safe and Sound’s specialist team provides individual support for children and young people from as young as eight up to the age of 18. They also raise awareness of the issue and the dangers facing children and young people through awareness programmes for schools, organisations, businesses and community groups.
Safe and Sound has launched the Butterfly Appeal #Buildingstrongwings to bring to fruition its vision for expanded services to support young people, families and wider community.
The charity’s future vision is extensive and includes:
– A new outreach programme to provide hands-on support where young people are at their most vulnerable
– Wider support for the families of victims and those at risk of CSE
– Youth work programmes with new activities from music to sport to build young people’s confidence and resilience
– Specialist psychological therapy programmes to tackle trauma, anxiety and depression
– Longer term support for survivors moving into adulthood enabling them to mentor younger victims
– An expanded community education programme to increase public awareness of CSE and the dangers facing young people
Supporters and ambassadors include the Chief Constable of Derbyshire who has chosen Safe and Sound as one of his chosen charities.
For more information about child sexual exploitation, Safe and Sound Derby and the Butterfly Appeal please visitwww.safeandsoundgroup.co.uk and follow on social media. A powerful video outlining young people’s experiences and why local people and businesses should support Safe and Sound is online at https://youtu.be/xjcb1y2cfGE
In the UK today, one in 20 children suffer sexual abuse which includes child sexual exploitation. That means that in every classroom in Derbyshire, there is at least one vulnerable young person in need of help.
Child Exploitation (commonly referred to as CSE) is a form of child sexual abuse and takes many different forms from rape and sexual assault to online grooming and encouraging children to share inappropriate images of themselves.
CSE is a particularly manipulative form of abuse and is also linked to such criminal exploitation issues such as County Lines, gangs, trafficking and modern slavery.
The key factor is that individuals or groups take advantage of young people by manipulating or deceiving them into sexual activity in exchange for something the victim needs or wants. This could range from money and alcohol to less tangible things such as the attention that they crave at a vulnerable time in their lives.