1.The key factor in CSE 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
2. Safe and Sound support workers help young people to recognise that what they have experienced is not their fault and arm them with the knowledge and confidence to help them be aware of the signs in the future – moving them to a place of emotional safety
Watching a video with her Safe and Sound support worker about child sexual exploitation was a transformational moment for Lucy to recognise the dangers she was facing and she is now helping other young people to do the same.
Following a family break-up, 13-year-old Lucy (not her real name) went to live with her dad, new partner, and their younger children.
Feeling like she didn’t quite belong in her new home and becoming increasingly isolated from her family, she began searching for affection elsewhere.
Concerns were raised when she started spending time with a group of other young people who had already been targeted by older men and there were concerns that she too could now be at high risk of being sexually exploited and abused.
When Lucy first met with her specialist support worker from Safe and Sound, she did not feel that she was in any kind of danger from these men.
The turning point was when she and her support worker watched the powerful video ‘Losing Control’ https://vimeo.com/152708894 about a young girl’s experience of grooming and abuse.
She started to recognise that some of her friends were being exploited in this way and that the same might happen to her. This understanding led to shock and anger about the perpetrators’ manipulative tactics.
One-to-one support sessions with Safe and Sound have focused on helping her to come to terms with what had been happening around her and empowering her with the confidence to recognise similar situations in the future.
She is now working with Safe and Sound to deliver training and awareness to other young people about the signs of grooming.