Safe and Sound’s purpose is to transform the lives of children and young people in Derbyshire affected by child exploitation.
Since 2002, we have been tackling child sexual exploitation, supporting children and young people in Derby and Derbyshire. We have helped hundreds of victims of child sexual exploitation to understand what has happened to them, rebuild their confidence and move to a place of emotional safety, protecting themselves from further harm. In 2019 we expanded our services to include children and young people affected by all types of criminal exploitation, such as county lines, trafficking and radicalisation, as these are often interlinked.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the risk of child exploitation has never been greater with children not in school, changes to their routine, increased stress and isolation. 70% of cases in Derby and Derbyshire last year involved online grooming.
Safe and Sound has increased support by 50% to keep up with demand, despite the restrictions on interaction. We are keeping in contact with children through virtual and face to face one to one and group support.
100% of those we supported last year had a reduced risk of exploitation
85% improved their sexual and mental health
90% had increased confidence
95% had improved relationships with peers, family or school
96% said they were listened to, treated with respect and could rely on our support workers
88% said we made a difference to their overall lives
We are aware that Covid-19 has created additional pressure on everyone, but the most vulnerable are now even more vulnerable than before. In order to respond to the increased demand for services, Safe and Sound are aiming to raise £5000 to provide 250 hours of intensive one to one support to vulnerable children and young people at risk of exploitation. Our vital work ensures that individuals receive the support they need to move forwards in their lives.
Online grooming survivor Louise (19) has turned her life around with the help of Safe and Sound and is now a young ambassador for the charity.
Now back in education and working part-time, Louise is a volunteer youth worker at Safe and Sound. She also speaks at information sessions about her experiences and conducts media interviews (including local radio and Sky TV news) to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation. Louise has supported Safe and Sound’s Christmas and Butterfly awareness and fundraising campaigns waiving her anonymity to show others it’s ok to speak up.
Things were very different for Louise. As a young teenager, she was in a downward spiral of self-harm and running away.
In her own words: “It all started going wrong when I was about 13. I was going through a lot in my life and was very unhappy so Facebook was my release. I didn’t know what privacy settings were, so my life was out there for the world to see. “Pretty soon I got chatting online to what I thought were boys of my own age. They were nice to me and said I was pretty and interesting. I just wanted to be loved so I was soon sucked in.
“A couple of them kept on sending naked photos and wanted me to do the same. I didn’t question it. In my head it was just part of a normal relationship with someone of my own age.
“Things got worse and worse. They got into my head so they were pulling the strings. Looking back, it was like being trapped in the crystal maze but you can’t see how to get out.
“When one of them asked to meet me, I confided in a friend who told school. They reported it to the police and contacted Safe and Sound.
“The police investigated and prosecuted two of them for sharing indecent images. During it all my Facebook account was hacked and suddenly the photos of me were shared with all my contacts. My best friends were horrified and a couple of them have not spoken to me since.
“Safe and Sound stuck by me. They helped me realise that I was not to blame for what had happened and that I had been groomed.
“Once I realised this I was able to start to re-build my self-esteem and confidence.
“I consider myself lucky that I did not end up being raped, kidnapped or worse. I was naïve and vulnerable, and this is exactly what people like this prey on.
“Basically, Safe and Sound saved my life and I am glad I have the opportunity to speak to other young people and through the media.
“I hope that, by telling my story, young people and their families will wise up to using privacy settings on social media and only accept people that you know as friends because people like this are far from that.”
How can you help?
£5 – Would keep our phone lines open for a day, ensuring that children, young people or parents and carers who need help are able to get in touch when they need help.
£20 – Provides an hour of intensive one to one support for children affected by exploitation.
£40 – Funds a bespoke one to one session with a vulnerable child or young person. This can include our core exploitation support work and risk reduction, life skills (banking, CV writing, nutrition and exercise) or work with a parent/carer to raise their awareness of exploitation and help explain what their child is going through.
£100 – Can purchase IT equipment such as a tablet for a child or young person who has limited or no access to the digital world. This supports not only their access to education but also helps develop their communication skills with wider family and peers, can reduce feelings of isolation and helps us keep in touch with them during the on-going pandemic.
£250 – Would fund an awareness raising session in the community or in a school. These sessions explain how grooming happens, dispel misconceptions and myths around exploitation and empower young people and adults to challenge and question how healthy their relationships are.
£960 – Keeps a Support Worker mobile for a whole year as they travel across Derby and Derbyshire to visit vulnerable children, young people and their families.
£3,100 – Supports a child for their whole journey with Safe and Sound, typically taking 6-9 months of specialist 1-1 support.