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UK Youth Advisors on Preventing Sexual Exploitation. Cynthia: NIA Project & the Children’s Society Leonie: Barnardo’s SECOS Project Vicky: Streetreach Project Lucy: Independent trainer and author. Introduction.

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UK Youth Advisors on Preventing Sexual Exploitation

Cynthia: NIA Project & the Children’s Society

Leonie: Barnardo’s SECOS Project

Vicky: Streetreach Project

Lucy: Independent trainer and author

slide2

Introduction

We are part of the UK delegation with the principle aim of working towards the eradication of sexual violence against children and young people. The group is coordinated by staff at the University of Bedfordshire. We come from different organisations and different parts of England. As a group we are committed to working in partnership with one another and with other conference participants to share learning and understanding, create new dialogues and to develop new ways of moving forward with this work. Young people’s role and contribution to this work is of central importance. We believe that working to ensure that this conference launching the campaign to stop sexual violence against children is accessible to everyone, including young people, will help to create a more positive environment for all participants.

introduction cont d
Introduction cont’d

The role of the UK Youth Advisors

The youth advisors have come to Rome to share learning about the participation of children and young people in work to stop sexual violence against children. The youth advisors within our group have been involved in working with a range of different projects. They are young experts who bring additional knowledge and perspectives to this work. They all have prior experience of working alongside professionals and other young people to raise awareness and understanding of child sexual exploitation within the UK. We recognise that talking about sexual violence towards children is difficult for everyone. We also recognise that sometimes children and young people are not included in discussions or decisions about work in this area. This may be for good reasons, with the aim of protecting young people from further abuse or victimisation. However we believe it is valuable to provide a platform for young people's voices. We have learnt that there are ways in which this can be done in a safe way, protecting young people from further harm or abuse while providing them with opportunities to develop their own knowledge, confidence and skills.

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Cynthia - Young Trainer

NIA Project & the Children’s Society

The nia project is a London based organisation working with women and children who have experienced violence against women. In partnership with the Children’s Society (London Youth at Risk Project) it has run a young trainers programme for the past two years.  The programme works with young people to design and deliver training on sexual exploitation for adult professionals who work with young people who may be at risk.

For more information contact: Nicola Weller Nweller@niaproject.plus.com

working to combat sexual exploitation
Working to combat sexual exploitation

Cynthia:

  • Delivering training sessions and workshops for professionals and young people
  • Taking the role of co-facilitator or workshop leader
  • Aiming to promote further understanding of sexual exploitation
what i have learnt
What I have learnt
  • When delivering training to professionals they are often surprised to see a young person come in and train them
  • Young people respond well to trainers their own age
  • Adults often encourage young people to participate but then don’t take young people seriously
  • Young people know what it is like to be young: remember that being young now is different to how it was when you were young
encouraging other young people to come forward
Encouraging other young people to come forward
  • I urge all nations before me to allow young peopleto work with you on this issue; to encourage other young people to come forward and let someone know that there’s a problem
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Leonie – Peer Educator and Youth Advisor

Barnardos SECOS Project

Barnardo’s Sexually Exploited Children Outreach Services (SECOS) based in Middlesbrough offers support to young people being sexually exploited in the South Tees area. It also offers training to professionals around sexual exploitation, trafficking, sexual abuse, self-harm and sexually harmful behaviour. The project works with young people in the Tees Valley, and their bases are located in Middlesbrough and Stockton.

For more information contact: Wendy Shepherd wendy.shepherd@barnardos.org.uk

teaching young people how to protect themselves
Teaching young people how to protect themselves

Leonie:

  • Delivering workshops to young people who go missing
  • Young people understand today’s real life issues
  • Raising awareness of the factors that “push” and “pull” young people into risky situations
  • Giving young people coping strategies to keep themselves safe and be protected
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Making policies which reflect young people’s views

  • Contributing to a national advisory group of young people to raise awareness about sexual exploitation
  • Bringing young people from across England together
  • Giving out questionnaires to agencies and lobbying policy makers
  • Informing the government that young people’s voices are missing and lobbying to get them heard and involved.
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Vicky – Creative writing project participant and young advisor

Streetreach Project Doncaster

The overall aim of the STREETREACH Project is to provide a confidential service for adults involved in or at risk of prostitution and for children and young people who are being sexual exploited. In order to work towards this aim and make contact with our target group we provide an outreach/detached provision and a centre-based provision. Our aim is to help our clients to move on to more positive, safer, healthier lifestyles.

Contact: Marilyn Haughton: streetreach@doncaster.gov.uk

it s hard to be really honest
It’s hard to be really honest

Vicky:

  • I hadn’t talked about what was happening before because I didn’t want people to think I was bad or stupid
  • It can be exciting when you first meet with men and the more that adults tell you not to do something the harder it becomes to tell adults what’s going on.
  • I didn’t want to tell the truth at first but it’s important the project staff didn’t give up on me
if you listen you just might hear
If you listen you just might hear
  • I contributed to writing a book of young people’s stories and had time to explain things in my own words
  • It felt safe writing things down, knowing that no-one would change my words
  • The book contains material that’s accessible and meaningful for young people
  • Moving on isn’t easy, but it helps to be able to share things without being judged
keeping young people safe
Keeping young people safe

Lucy: Independent trainer and author

  • Written a book about my experiences
  • Working with a project that previously supported me: delivering training and preventative work in schools
  • Group work with young people who are sexually exploited
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Helping other young people see a brighter future

  • Instead of just focusing on the risks in young people’s lives I support them with their ambitions to help them be able to see a brighter future
  • Contributing to the writing of procedures with local government child protection procedures
  • Having a young person help write the safeguarding procedures makes a big difference in how authorities deal with the victims
three things to take away
Three things to take away
  • We need to involve more young people to work alongside professionals to support young victims of sexual violence.
  • Children and young people are very good at knowing what adults want to hear. Therefore children and young people only tell certain parts of what is really happening.
  • Professional language can be alienating and hard for young people to make sense of.
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Thank you

For more information please contact:

Jenny.pearce@beds.ac.uk