Safe and Sound Gears Up For Mobile Support In Local Communities

Safe and Sound Gears Up For Mobile Support In Local Communities

Specialist local charity Safe and Sound has bought its first minibus to enable youth and support workers to help and protect more children and young people in local communities.

Safe and Sound supports children and young people across Derbyshire who are victims of or at risk of child exploitation including online grooming, sexual exploitation, trafficking, drugs lines, modern slavery and radicalisation.  The charity also supports the wider family and raises awareness in local communities of the dangers facing young people.

The six-seater bus has been bought with the support of Derby-based personalised gift company Colleague Box and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire.

It will be an important part of Safe and Sound’s Outreach programme and will also enable more children and young people to benefit from sport, creative and volunteer activities.

Safe and Sound CEO Tracy Harrison explained: “The minibus will really broaden the scope and scale of what we are able to do to support and protect children and young people in our local communities.

“The pandemic and particularly the third lockdown has left many young people isolated and the increased time spent on social media and gaming sites has made them far more vulnerable to online grooming.

“The minibus will be a focal point for our Outreach programme in local parks where we know young people gather as daylight hours draw out.

“This makes them more vulnerable to exploitation by individuals and criminal gangs and our key aim is to raise their awareness of the potential dangers they face and highlight how they can get help and support.

“Our youth work team will also be able to use the minibus to safely transport more children and young people to and from a wide range of activities that will greatly boost their confidence and self esteem.

“We are very grateful to both Colleague Box and the Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner for their support to make this a reality.”

Natalie Bamford, Creative Director of Colleague Box and a former teaching assistant who worked with children with special educational needs, said: “Christmas was an extremely busy time of year for us and we decided to donate £1 from the sale of each of our Christmas boxes to Safe and Sound.

“In total, we have raised £5225 and are delighted that the money has been used to help buy the minibus for this valuable local charity who do such a brilliant job of supporting young people, their families and transforming lives.

For more information on the work of Safe and Sound and how to support the charity, please visit https://www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk/ and visit Colleague Box https://www.colleaguebox.co.uk/

Photo shows Natalie Bamford from Colleague Box, centre with Safe and CEO Tracy Harrison and Chair of Trustees Allen Graham.  Picture credit Laura Firth, MiniAperture Photography https://www.miniaperture.co.uk/

Media enquiries: Sarah Jenkin-Jones, JJPR, Tel: 01332 515102/07951 945665; [email protected]

Safe and Sound Launches Wider Exploitation Programme

Safe and Sound Launches Wider Exploitation Programme

Derbyshire’s specialist child exploitation charity, Safe and Sound, has launched a new far-reaching programme in response to the increased vulnerabilities amongst children and young people to wider exploitation.

The charity says that increased isolation, online grooming and pressure on family finances during the pandemic has led to a rise in the number of children and young people becoming vulnerable to exploitation. 

Safe and Sound’s own workload has increased 50% in the past year and this, it fears, is only the tip of the iceberg.

Safe and Sound has nearly 20 years’ expertise in working with children and young people across Derbyshire who are victims of or at risk of sexual exploitation.

Safe and Sound expanded its remit in 2019 to include wider exploitation including drugs lines, trafficking, modern slavery and radicalisation and, in 2020 17% of children referred to Safe and Sound were at risk of criminal exploitation. 

Furthermore, the charity has seen an increase in the number of boys and young men needing support and a large proportion of those at risk of criminal exploitation have special educational needs.

Safe and Sound has now secured a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund to launch the ‘Transforming Young Lives’ programme with additional specialist staff and activities over the next three years.  

The focus will be on wider child exploitation; additional support for children, young people and their families raising greater awareness amongst local communities and building the charity’s volunteer base.

National research reveals an alarming increased in children and young people being groomed by criminal gangs and individuals both online and face to face.

The National Crime Agency has reported that that the number of “deal lines” used by city gangs to sell drugs around the UK has nearly tripled from 720 to approximately 2,000 over the past year alone and that at least 300,000 people in the UK posed a sexual threat to children, either through physical contact abuse or online. 

The NSPCC’s recent review of the impact of Covid-19 on child abuse concluded: “The combined impact of increased stressors on caregivers, increased child vulnerability, and reduced safeguards increases the potential for new and recurring cases of abuse in all its forms.”

Safe and Sound CEO Tracy Harrison explained: “There is widespread recognition that child sexual exploitation is interlinked with other forms of exploitation such as county lines, trafficking and radicalisation. 

“For example, children who are sexually exploited are trafficked across different geographical areas and girls who are radicalised are often sexually exploited or subject of an arranged or illegal marriage.”

Mrs Harrison continued: “A particular focus for this work, as well as supporting the individual young person and their family, will be to break down the barriers and misconceptions around wider exploitation which can prevent children receiving support as victims. 

“For example, young people who are victims of exploitation, such as County Lines, are regarded as and therefore treated as offenders. 

“This is similar to the historic approach to child sexual exploitation victims who were seen as and labelled “child prostitutes” rather than victims. This led to children not being taken seriously, not being protected and abuse continuing when it could have been stopped. We can only change this culture collectively.”

Activities around wider exploitation will include:

  • Specialist one to one support for as long as needed
  • Support in schools to prevent exclusion of those at risk and particularly with SEND
  • Raising awareness of wider forms of exploitation with children, young people and in communities
  • Giving young people affected by exploitation a voice to change the stereotyping and culture of “child criminals”
  • Support for young people to take part in other diversionary activities

Safe and Sound’s work to support families will be another area to benefit under the project with expanded Family Support work.

In the past year, the charity has provided specialist support for the whole family (child, siblings, and parents) where any form of child exploitation is the primary issue. The Family Support workers offer independent, consistent support to engage, advocate and support families to work with agencies more effectively. 

Mrs Harrison said: “The impact of child exploitation is often traumatic for the family, causing tensions and often family breakdowns. 

“During the pilot programme, Our Family Support workers have increased awareness, kept children and young people safe, improved family lives, broken down barriers and improved relationships between families and partner organisations and agencies. 

“The Transforming Young Lives funding will enable us to continue this service and build on the learning to date. The Family Worker will provide support that is tailored to each family’s need to reduce the risk of exploitation using the whole family approach.”

Activities include:

  • Mediation which helps to rebuild and encourage good relationships between families and services, such as police, social workers, YOT, therapists, to enable parents to share information in real time with services and for services to share updates with them.  
  • Showing parents how to gather intelligence, what signs to look for and how to report their children missing. 
  • Educate parents to understand exploitation and why it is happening and what exploitation is, reducing victim blaming and maximising the rebuilding of familial relationships. 
  • One-to-one work with siblings, referring them into creative activities and liaising with schools to ensure the children are better supported, reducing the risk for the whole family.  
  • Empowering families to take control of the things that are happening to them by providing them with critical knowledge of the safeguarding system they access and their rights and entitlements to services.
  • Facilitating and further developing our parent support peer groups.

Under the ‘Transforming Young Lives’ project – work with new communities, such as those from Eastern Europe who are particularly vulnerable to wider exploitation, will be able to continue.  

Work includes developing language-specific resources to increase awareness across local communities of the dangers facing these young people and becoming a trusted support network for families who are traditionally suspicious of statutory authorities.

Through a volunteer coordinator post, the charity will also be able to recruit, train and support more local volunteers who work alongside the Safe and Sound team on key areas such as positive youth activities and awareness raising.

Mrs Harrison concluded: “Any boy or girl is at risk of exploitation – regardless of their age, family circumstances, social or cultural background.

“This grant will have a positive impact on our organisation, enabling us to build on the work we have done so far, expand our focus on wider exploitation and develop our expertise in this area of work.

“The ‘Transforming Young Lives’ programme will enable us to raise awareness to prevent and support those affected by child exploitation at the earliest opportunity enabling children, young people, and families to move on to new chapters in their lives.”

Media enquiries: Sarah Jenkin-Jones, JJPR, Tel: 01332 515102/07951 945665; [email protected] 

Safe and Sound Marks National Day With Report On A Year of Challenge and Progress

Safe and Sound Marks National Day With Report On A Year of Challenge and Progress

Specialist child exploitation charity Safe and Sound has expanded its work over the past year to provide a lifeline of emotional and practical support to some of the most vulnerable children, young people and their families across Derbyshire.

The charity’s annual performance report has been published this week ahead of National Child Exploitation Awareness Day (Thursday March 18) and highlights the impact of the pandemic on its work.

Safe and Sound is part of the NWG national network which spearheads the awareness-raising day every year and #CEADay21 aims to highlight the rising tide of child exploitation including sexual exploitation, coercion to run drugs through County Lines, trafficking and modern slavery.

Safe and Sound’s workload has increased by 50% since the first lockdown with 150 boys and girls aged as young as seven who are victims of or at increased risk of child exploitation receiving one to one and group support.

Thanks to successful funding bids and the generosity of local businesses, groups and individuals, the team has expanded to provide specialist support to children and young people who have learning difficulties and disabilities. 

Around 30% of the young people supported in the past year have identified special educational needs – increasing their vulnerabilities to grooming and exploitation and the charity has worked in partnership with a number of specialist support schools, charities and other youth organisations to support their young people.

Safe and Sound’s new family support workers have also helped 21 local families.  

This expansion is in recognition of the effect of exploitation on the wider family and that circumstances at home can sometimes make young people more vulnerable to being targeted by perpetrators both online and in person.

Families supported are from a wide cross-section of local communities particularly in Derby city, Erewash and South Derbyshire including new and emerging communities such as those with a Roma heritage.

As well as one to one and group support, a key objective for Safe and Sound has continued to be to raise awareness across Derbyshire of the dangers of exploitation facing young people including sexual, drug lines, modern slavery, trafficking and radicalisation.

Most of the education and awareness workshops have had to be delivered virtually but engagement has included the online chat facility on the charity’s new website www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk and through presentations with parents, professionals and young people.

In addition, Safe and Sound will be holding a number of online awareness-raising events on Thursday, March 18th to mark National Child Exploitation Awareness Day.

This will include members of its parents peer support group discussing the role of the police with a senior officer, a live web chat facility manned throughout the day and online awareness sessions with different groups of young people.

Last summer Safe and Sound returned to its grassroots ethos and introduced an outreach programme.  Between June and December 2020, young and support workers engaged with 746 children and young people.  

On nine occasions, they shared information and intelligence with partner agencies leading to a police investigation into County Lines and action taken on three safeguarding issues.

Safe and Sound CEO Tracy Harrison explained: “As Covid-19 developed, the risk of child exploitation had never been greater with children not in school, changes to their routine, increased stress and isolation.

“Our immediate concerns were that young people were more vulnerable to online grooming due to them spending more time on social media and games channels.

“We reviewed our work to ensure we could respond effectively despite the restrictions on interaction and recruited new staff to meet the increased demand.

“As well as working with young people to prevent and protect them from exploitation, we have helped them with wider issues such as wellbeing and mental health, bereavement and schoolwork – including providing laptops, tablets and internet support.

“Children and young people with special educational needs are not only more vulnerable to grooming but many have also struggled to understand the changes to their routine caused by the pandemic.

“Our new specialist support worker has therefore successfully developed an adapted support programme for young people and their families.  

“She has received fantastic feedback from the families and partner schools and disability groups and we know our work is making a difference in protecting young people from serious harm.

“I am particularly proud of the additional support we have been able to provide to the wider families of young people referred to us as at risk of exploitation.

“This support ranges from help with housing and access to foodbanks to ease the additional strains on family relationships to helping families whose first language is not English to understand the help available to them during the pandemic.

“In conclusion, we cannot achieve what we do on our own and our collaborations and partnership working with other charities, organisations and statutory agencies has had a greater impact.

“I am extremely proud with how the whole team has worked proactively and collectively to overcome the challenges of the pandemic and ensure that children and young people receive the one to one and group support that they have desperately needed in these unprecedented times.”

To attend an awareness session on March 18th 2021 between 11 am -12 pm, please register your interest at [email protected]

Toyota Manufacturing UK Supports Safe and Sound

Toyota Manufacturing UK Supports Safe and Sound

Toyota Manufacturing UK Charitable Trust has donated nearly £5,000 to Derbyshire child exploitation charity Safe and Sound to support their outreach work programme.

Toyota Manufacturing UK has contributed more than £6.3 million to a variety of local community causes since 1992.

Tim Freeman, Trustee for the Charitable Trust and Deputy Managing Director at Toyota Manufacturing UK said “It is an honour and a privilege to be able to support the fantastic work of local charities such as Safe and Sound despite what has been a particularly challenging year for all.  At Toyota, it is important for us to be able to contribute to our local communities in this way.”

Safe and Sound fundraising and marketing officer Lucy Orme (pictured with the cheque) said: “As we start to see lockdown restrictions easing and lighter nights, young people will naturally be venturing out more after school.

“Our outreach programme is vital to enable our support and youth workers and volunteers to engage with children and young people who might otherwise struggle to access services or who were unaware of the dangers of online and physical grooming and exploitation.

“This donation from Toyota Manufacturing UK Charitable Trust is therefore very much appreciated to support our efforts to have a visible presence in local communities – particularly where we know perpetrators target their efforts to engage vulnerable young people for their own exploitative purposes.”

For more information about the work of Safe and Sound and how to support the charity, please visit www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk and follow on social media channels.

Media enquiries: Sarah Jenkin-Jones, JJPR, Tel: 01332 515102/07951 945665; [email protected] 

Local Families Raise Vital Funds For Safe and Sound

Local Families Raise Vital Funds For Safe and Sound

The Rotary Club of Derby have presented local charity Safe and Sound with a cheque for £1,500 following a successful virtual Santa Sleigh project throughout December.

The organisation had to adapt its annual Santa Sleigh due to the pandemic and worked with charity partners and Derby digital agency Think3 to enable families across the county and beyond to book a personalised letter or recorded video from Santa in return for a donation.

The money raised will enable Safe and Sound to support more young people across Derbyshire who are victims of or at risk of child exploitation as well as their families.

CEO Tracy Harrison said: “We are obviously disappointed not to have been able to work with The Rotary Club of Derby to take the Santa Sleigh across local communities in the usual way but very grateful for everyone’s hard work to spread the joy of Christmas in a limited way and online.

“The funds raised will enable us to help and protect many more young people provide a support lifeline to their families and continue to raise awareness of the mounting dangers facing young people both online and in our local communities.”

President of The Rotary Club of Derby Les Bryan added: “Our Santa Sleigh has been a long-held tradition in the city and I am proud that we were able to take the sleigh through Mickleover and Littleover even though we could not collect funds. 

“We were glad to enable children to see Santa and to provide children with a personal letter or video from St. Nick.  We are even more proud to have been able to raise funds for Safe and Sound with the essential support they provide.”

For more information about the work of Safe and Sound and how to support the charity, please visit www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk and follow on social media channels.

Nottingham Companies Support Specialist Child Exploitation Charity

Nottingham Companies Support Specialist Child Exploitation Charity

Two Nottingham companies have joined forces to help a local charity raise awareness of the dangers facing children and young people of child exploitation. Creationz Marketing in Beeston and web design company Little Black Dog in Victoria Embankment have developed a new website for Safe and Sound.

The charity supports children and young people across Derbyshire who are victims of or at risk of child exploitation including sexual exploitation, County Lines, Modern Slavery, trafficking and radicalisation. Safe and Sound also supports the wider family and raises awareness of the dangers facing young people in local communities. The new website www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk includes information and resources for professionals working with young people, parents and young people themselves and incorporates a new live chat facility to enable easier access to the charity’s specialist support team.

Safe and Sound chief executive Tracy Harrison explained: “Our case load increased by over 50% in 2020 largely since the start of the pandemic – brought about by young people being socially isolated and therefore particularly vulnerable to online grooming. “It was therefore important to have a well-designed and user-friendly website with a wealth of resources that can be easily accessed by professionals, families and young people
themselves and to raise awareness of the dangers facing young people in our local communities. “It has also given us a platform to better engage with the individuals, businesses, organisations and funders whose support is vital to enable us to work with children as young as seven and their families.

“Child exploitation is not an easy subject to talk about and many young people and their families are actually not aware that they are being targeted by perpetrators – believing that so-called relationships are real. “The truth is that many relationships – particularly online – are far from healthy. Our message across social media channels throughout the past year has therefore been the importance of robust privacy settings. “We are extremely grateful to both Little Black Dog and Creationz for their support in developing this new website and look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.” Claire Taylor is the founder and managing director of Creationz – which provides ongoing digital marketing and social media support for Safe and Sound. She said: “Having achieved our objectives to increase engagement and raise greater awareness of child exploitation across Safe and Sound’s social media channels – we identified the urgent need for a new website to enable it to share important information and resources with stakeholders and the wider general public. “I approached Helena at Little Black Dog to help the charity achieve its goal and am delighted with the results.” Helena Illingworth, owner of Little Black Dog, concluded: “As a small company specialising in creating great looking and affordable websites, we have the flexibility to support charities and causes that we believe in.

“Working on the Safe and Sound website has certainly opened my eyes to the dangers facing young people in our local communities and I hope that our input will go some way to protecting many more children and their families in the future.

For more information about Safe and Sound and how to support the work it does, please visit https://safeandsoundgroup.org.uk/

Ends

Media enquiries: Sarah Jenkin-Jones, JJPR, Tel: 01332 515102/07951 945665; [email protected]

About Safe and Sound
Formed in 2002, Safe and Sound is an inspiring Derbyshire charity that transforms young lives affected by child exploitation with innovative, hands-on programmes. The charity works at grass root levels delivering individual support to each child as well as families and carers. This vital support enables them to move not just to a place of safety, but emerge unshackled and undefined by their experience and enabled to reach their full potential.
The charity continues to specialise in child sexual exploitation and is now developing its services to support children and young people facing or at risk of wider exploitation which are often interlinked. These include physical and emotional violence, neglect, modern-day slavery, radicalisation and human trafficking, domestic abuse, missing episodes and County Lines. Safe and Sound is led by former police superintendent Tracy Harrison with the support of a specialist team; an experienced board of Trustees and now a team of Ambassadors who are helping to raise the profile of the charity and the issue of child exploitation.

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. For more information about child exploitation, Safe and Sound Derby and how to support their work, please visit www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk