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Child Sexual Exploitation Services


Tackling the problem: support and training solutions


What is sexual exploitation?

 “The use of children for the sexual gratification of adults. The basis of exploitation is the unequal power and economic relations between the child and the adult. The child is exploited for his/her youth and sexuality.” United Nations

Sexual exploitation often starts in discreet and subtle ways that cannot be easily identified by those being exploited or those around them.  It can appear that the “relationship” is consensual and that the victim is in control.  This distortion of “free will” or “choice” can often lead to adults and professionals believing that the victim is involved and takes responsibility for their actions.  Be very clear: they didn’t and may not have had any choice.

In the UK last year there were 2756 cases of Child Sexual Exploitation known to Barnardos, however there were only 89 convictions for this crime.  Following the high profile case in Rochdale in 2011, Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board found that “deficiencies" and "patchy" training of front-line staff were behind many of the failings.


Who is the service for?

  • Male and females
  • Any young person suspected to be at risk of, or experiencing sexual exploitation or those who have suffered in the past living within the Sandwell, Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton areas.
  • Agencies working with young people who suspect some form of exploitation or risky sexualised behaviour is occurring
  • Young people in Sandwell, Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton

SWA work within the Safeguarding Procedures in relation to Sexual Exploitation within the local authorities identified.


SWA Young People’s Advocates - Sexual Exploitation Services

SWA offers a variety of services including:

  • One to one support for young people at risk of, or involved in sexual exploitation
  • Group support in a variety of statutory and community settings
  • PHSE programmes targeting schools/colleges and other educational establishments
  • Training for agencies and community groups
  • Responsive strategic and operational solutions for organisations


One to one support for young people

The specialist Young People’s Advocates work from a variety of locations enabling young people to get help where they need it. Often the services operate out of partner venues promoting a genuine partnership response. The team offer:

  • Direct work with young people
  • A non-judgemental, safe space to talk and listen
  • Emotional and practical support
  • Risk and safety planning
  • Information and advice
  • Referral to specialist counselling, if appropriate
  • Signposting to other agencies
  • Advocacy with professionals, parents and others, making sure that young people are heard
  • Support throughout any criminal justice process in relation to SE or related matters
  • Links with a range of agencies and formal processes such as case reviews


Group Support and PHSE awareness sessions

The purpose of group work is to enable young people to understand and better identify risk factors of sexual exploitation and the link to other social factors such as domestic abuse, sexual violence and substance misuse.  Venues can be anywhere that young people access such as schools, youth centres and children’s homes to name a few.

Trapped logoThe TRAPPED (Teenage Relationship Abuse) programme was developed in partnership with the Home Office and West Midlands Police. The programme offers lessons and workshops that raise awareness and challenge young people’s attitudes and beliefs, and works within the national curriculum framework for PHSE.  Prior to delivery SWA will work with schools/youth centres to identify needs and expected outcomes as well as all safeguarding practices.


Viva logoVIVA: Following on from the delivery of TRAPPED those identified as at risk are invited to a 6 week group support programme. The programme further explores risks and where appropriate offers one to one work with the young person who is/potentially being exploited. The programme focuses directly on self-esteem, risk taking, trusted adults and healthy relationships and can be offered in schools and youth settings. Maximum numbers are 12. Parental consent and safeguarding procedures will be observed at all times.


Training and awareness for statutory and non-statutory agencies

This essential training and awareness is available to anyone working with children and young people. SWA offer both bespoke training sessions for agencies and an in-house training programme. Training covers such topic as:

  • Understanding exploitation
  • Signs, symptoms and causes
  • Handling disclosure and risk assessing
  • Safeguarding procedures
  • Accessing the right support
  • Reaching out to young people
  • Gang related/associated exploitation


Strategic and Operational Solutions

SWA offer agencies tailored and local solutions to understanding Sexual Exploitation and their involvement in protecting children and young people within their care/support. SWA can work with organisations to address their policy around sexual exploitation or sexual violence and young people and enable them to offer their own solutions.

Contact the Team

Contact: 0121 553 0090 (office hours only)


need help? call 0121 553 0090
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