Protecting the children we work with from child sexual exploitation
At Prospects we work with more than 100,000 young people each year. For the majority, the support relates to the choices available to them at 16 and 18, making sure they know the range of options available to develop their potential and succeed in employment, education or training. However, for some the help goes beyond college, training and apprenticeship options and colleagues find themselves working with young people who show signs of child sexual exploitation. At Prospects we take these issues seriously and encourage all colleagues to raise their concerns to ensure the young person is supported.
Recently the government amended the definition child sexual exploitation, after the previous one was found to be outdated. The previous definition has been used since 2009 but was thought to be unclear, leading the Home Office to change it following consultation earlier this year.
The new definition of CSE now states:
‘Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.’
At Prospects our central Safeguarding Policy is regularly reviewed to incorporate changes, and ensure we are working to the highest standards. The children we support are always our top priority and all of our work is centred around their needs.
Prospects works in more than 20 local authorities across the country providing targeted careers advice and guidance support, in Calderdale we support young people leaving car. In Gloucestershire our multi-disciplinary team provides youth services, working with young people at risk of becoming not in employment, education or training, young offenders and those known to the police, those with alcohol and substance issues, looked after children and those leaving care and young people with health or risky behaviours.
To find out more about Prospects work with young people visit http://prospects.co.uk/WhatWeDo/ChildrenYoungPeople.aspx