We were delighted this month to host a visit by Peter McCall, Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner. He came to find out more about our Child Sexual Exploitation programme (CSE), funded by the Commissioner’s Community Fund.
The six-month intervention programme starts with an initial home visit and weekly group sessions for 12 to 17 year-olds who are identified as being vulnerable to child sexual exploitation. We also include experiential learning activities and a residential at Brathay Hall to consolidate learning and increase the outcomes for the young people.
This innovative programme aims to give attendees:
- an improved understanding of what a healthy (non-coercive) relationship looks like;
- an understanding of how they can decrease their vulnerability to CSE and where to go to for help;
- trust in statutory services and the workers within them;
- self-esteem, confidence and a greater feeling of being in control.
Speaking about his visit Peter McCall said:
“I was really impressed with the youngsters I met at Brathay Hall, and very interested to hear about the programme and what it is achieving for them. Tackling CSE is high up on my list of priorities, which is why I was happy to provide funding for this innovative programme. Any initiative that helps our youngsters to stay safe is to be welcomed.
“Many people think, wrongly, that because Cumbria has a low crime rate that CSE does not happen here. However, CSE can happen to any child, anywhere, which is why it is so important that people are aware of the issue. We owe it to our youngsters to ensure they are better equipped to recognise and deal with CSE and how to get help.”
Jacqueline Wallace, our Cumbria Projects Manager, welcomed Peter McCall’s interest and support as well as the funding and the news that the programme has been extended for a further year.
"The OPCC with the Francis C Scott Charitable Trust are funding one of Brathay’s biggest community projects which is helping to tackle the problem of child sexual exploitation in Cumbria. ‘Be SAVY’ (Be Safe & Value Yourself) is a preventative project, which sees us working with up to 10 young people per cohort over a period of six months. To date we have delivered the project in Barrow three times, once in Whitehaven and we are currently delivering it in Millom. The community sessions in Millom take place at the Beggar’s Theatre and our project lead, theatre director Jakki Moore, is integrating drama as a vehicle for personal development with this cohort of girls."
As a result of the success of this CSE prevention work in Cumbria, we have secured three year’s funding to expand the programme into North Lancashire.