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/

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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

Safe and Sound Steps Up Safer Internet Awareness Support

Safe and Sound Steps Up Safer Internet Awareness Support

Local charity Safe and Sound is marking Safer Internet Day (Tuesday February 9 2021) with the launch of a new online webchat for professionals working with children and young people who are particularly vulnerable to online grooming and exploitation.

This year’s Safer Internet Day highlights the importance of ‘an internet we can trust’ – a focus echoed by Safe and Sound which has seen a dramatic rise in referrals over the past year to support children as young as seven who have been targeted by online groomers.

The charity’s specialist case workers are currently working with around 150 children and young people aged between ten and 18 across the city and county who have been victims or who are at risk of grooming and exploitation.

More than half of them have experienced or are at risk of online grooming in various guises.

This has ranged from young people sharing personal information with strangers online to more sinister activity such as being coerced into sharing inappropriate images of themselves and agreeing to meet up face to face.

The charity is particularly concerned about the safety of young people with special educational needs (SEND) who are highly vulnerable to exploitation – both online and in person.

It will therefore launch a new online chat forum on Tuesday Feb 9 and then every Tuesday between 11am and 1pm to raise awareness of child exploitation amongst SEND.

In addition, throughout Safer Internet Day, the webchat facility for parents, professionals and young people will be manned by the support team who will also be available between 10am and 11am through Facebook.

Furthermore, several local schools plan to join a virtual assembly and a special awareness session for parents and carers will be held between 1.30pm and 2.30pm.  For more information contact Safe and Sound through the website www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk

Safe and Sound Education and Awareness Officer Angela Baker works with around eight young people with special educational needs at any one time.

She explained that children and young people with special educational needs tended to be more trusting of people who targeted them on social media and gaming channels.

“In my experience, young people with SEND take on face value many of the things they are told.

“Therefore, if they are targeted online by someone who says they are a similar age and want to be their boyfriend or girlfriend, they are far more likely to believe it.

“This puts them at even greater risk of criminals who then want them to share inappropriate photographs or meet up in secret.

“Our focus is to help young people understand that they cannot always trust what they are being told – particularly online.

“This can be a long process and we use various resources including visual prompts and activities to discuss the scenarios and dangers that they can face in a careful and appropriate way.

“We explain the importance of privacy settings on social media and that they should only be in contact with people that they know and have met. We then help them to gain an understanding of healthy and unhealthy relationships and boundaries.

Safe and Sound supports children and young people across Derbyshire who are victims of or at risk of child exploitation including sexual, trafficking, County Lines, Modern Slavery and radicalisation.  It also supports the wider families and raises awareness of the dangers facing young people in local communities.

CEO Tracy Harrison continued: “Online grooming is the ultimate betrayal of trust on the internet with potentially devastating consequences.

“It is therefore highly appropriate that we mark Safer Internet Day with the launch of this dedicated webchat forum in addition to our wider virtual communications.

“People are not always who they say they are online.  At first, they may seem friendly and will always find something in common with the young person which is the start of the grooming process.

“This initial contact can turn far more sinister – asking the young person to send inappropriate photos and webcam images or persuading them to meet up.”

Mrs Harrison continued: “Lockdown and the continued restriction on social gatherings has heightened the risk to young boys and girls of child exploitation – regardless of where they live, their family situation, cultural or social background.

“Children and young people have spent long periods not in school and most of the positive activities they have enjoyed continue to be cancelled or reduced.

“This has naturally led to increased stress and isolation with young people spending far more time online and therefore at greater risk of grooming.

“Many young people have also faced additional issues including increased financial pressures on families and heightened tensions at home which make them more susceptible to manipulative grooming from sexual predators and drugs gangs – both online and in person.

“Our focus from the start of the pandemic has been to mitigate the risks of online grooming through awareness of the importance of privacy settings and the dangers of unhealthy relationships.

“Outside lockdown period, we have also been able to support more young people and their families face to face and re-introduce positive activities and work to support young people back into education.

“We are also returning to our grassroots as a charity and have launched an outreach programme to engage directly with young people and highlight the dangers they face at the hands of individuals and groups.

“I hope that the profile around Safer Internet Day reinforces to all parents and carers that they should know who their young people are talking to and meeting – whether that is on the internet or in person.

“It is therefore vital to set strong privacy settings and have a greater awareness of how perpetrators work online.”

Mrs Harrison particularly reinforced that children and young people were not to blame for online grooming: “Although it is important for young people to be vigilant about privacy settings and who they talk to online – it is the other person who is wrong for making these inappropriate approaches.

“Young people need to know that they will not be punished for what they have said or done online but will be listened to and it will be taken seriously.”

She advised that inappropriate online behaviour should be reported to the police or CEOP the national crime agency at www.ceop.police.uk  who can investigate.

Young people and their families can also contact Safe and Sound for advice and support www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk where there is a wide range of information on the issue and how to help the charity continue to tackle child exploitation.

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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 experience 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

Businesses Step Up Support For Hope Box Appeal

Businesses Step Up Support For Hope Box Appeal

A wide range of businesses have successfully kick-started a special appeal launched by Derbyshire’s specialist child exploitation charity Safe and Sound.

Safe and Sound have teamed up with Derby-based personalised gift company Colleague Box to create a bespoke ‘Hope Box’ for local young people and families who they work with.

The Hope Box is filled with calming activities, treats and positivity messages and Safe and Sound are aiming to secure sponsorship from individuals and businesses so that as many of the £20 boxes can be distributed as possible over the coming months.

Safe and Sound supports children and young people across Derbyshire who are victims of or at risk of child exploitation including sexual, County Lines, trafficking, Modern Slavery and radicalisation.  The team also supports families and raises public awareness across local communities about the dangers facing young people and the support available.

Amongst the companies who have already pledged support is Cosy Direct – a Derby based company which supplies responsibly sourced play equipment to schools and nurseries all over the UK.

Cosy Direct have sponsored ten Hope Boxes and CEO Peter Ellse explained: “We are huge fans of Safe and Sound and applaud the work of the charity that is close to our hearts.

“Cosy are champions of young people and it is good to know that charities such as Safe and Sound are working hard to keep children across Derby and Derbyshire safe.”

Safe and Sound chief executive Tracy Harrison said: “The Hope Boxes carry an important message to our young people and their families that they are not alone and are something that they can keep referring to and take comfort from in dark times.

“The appeal has got off to a great start and we have so far received support for 50 young people to receive their Hope Box.

“Our workload has significantly increased in the past year largely due to the increased vulnerability of young people who have faced social isolation during the pandemic.

“Our team works with these young people for as long as they need it with 1:1 and group support, positive activities, help to return to education or into work and practical support to help them move forward with their lives in a positive way.

“We are also working hard to support their families with the wider issues that they face such as financial hardship and mental health.”

Natalie Bamford, Creative Director of Colleague Box, said: “It was an absolute delight to team up with Safe and Sound to launch the Hope Box initiative.

“The boxes are packed full of goodies designed to give the children and young people who the Derby charity works with lots of motivation and support.

“We worked with local suppliers, including Derbyshire-based Divine Box and Homemade Boutique, to source bath bombs and cards which feature encouraging words to keep their spirits up and let them know that they’re doing well.

“There are a few sweet treats in the Hope Box, alongside a worry stone and mindful colouring book – proven to reduce anxiety, improve your mood and is great for helping you to switch off.

“The response to these boxes has been great and we’re delighted to once again be supporting Safe and Sound.”

To sponsor a Hope Box, please visit the new website https://www.safeandsoundgroup.org.uk/2021-support-ideas/ where there is information about how else to support the charity’s work and a wide range of resources for parents, professionals and young people themselves.

Sam’s Story

A 15-year-old boy will be amongst the young people to receive a Hope Box.

Sam (not his real name) was groomed and sexually abused by a neighbour when he was ten and continues to stay in contact with Safe and Sound’s specialist team.

Sam’s mum was initially groomed by the neighbour to gain her trust and his attentions meanwhile turned to her son.

Behind a manipulative cloak of outward kindness and attention, nobody knew that Sam was actually the victim of horrific sexual abuse at the hands of the neighbour. He ensured Sam’s silence by making threats of extreme violence towards him and his loved ones if he told anyone the truth.

After a family friend became suspicious and raised the alarm, the family went to the police.

Alongside the police investigation, it took Sam many months to fully disclose to his support worker from Safe and Sound the full extent of the abuse he had faced and that he had been raped. Thanks to his bravery, the perpetrator was prosecuted and jailed for five years.

Sam said: “The Hope Box is something that me and mum will be able to open up and look at the positive messages when we are having a bad day.

“My support worker from Safe and Sound has given me hope.  She helped me to speak up. She told me not to be afraid and showed me how talking about what had happened to me could help other people and stop him from hurting anyone else.”

Sam and his mum have both received on-going support from Safe and Sound to help them come to terms with what has happened and rebuild their confidence to move on with their lives.

She said: “This monster has taken away my son’s childhood. He has tried to commit suicide several times and says he is still petrified that his abuser will come back and do the things that he threatened to do if he told anyone what was going on.

“I struggle with the guilt and continually ask myself – why didn’t I realise what was going on?  This man got to my son through me.  We were both groomed and I never thought I would be taken in by somebody so evil.

“Something like this can tear your family apart and you feel that you have nowhere to turn.  The care, patience and expertise of the team at Safe and Sound has however given us hope for the future.

“Although we still have a long way to go, we are trying to move on with our lives but that has only been possible with the support of Safe and Sound and I think the Hope Boxes are a lovely idea.”

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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 experience 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