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24/7 help for young people at risk

Trusted Spaces is a pilot protecting young people at risk of grooming, exploitation and gang involvement across Ealing, London. The overall aim is to reduce instances of Serious Youth Violence.

Ione leads the Trusted Spaces team. As part of our CSE Awareness Day work, she explains how the team are tackling sexual exploitation and keeping young people safe.

“Our team of outreach and family workers are based within the community, travelling to where young people feel most comfortable to meet. We organise group sessions and workshops in youth centres, and work closely with schools to reduce exclusion rates and raise awareness of risks. By educating young people and building their self-esteem, we keep them safe from sexual exploitation and other threats.

We have a 24/7 helpline that young people can call or text. They use the phone line for multiple reasons – to talk through issues, to prevent them from going missing or to self-soothe instead of using aggression. They ask for guidance on how to remove themselves from risky situations and communicate with their friends so that they do not bow to peer pressure.

These phone calls only happen because young people have a relationship with our team first. It takes time to build these relationships but they are integral to showing young people that they will be listened to when they need it the most.

One young person developed her understanding of sexual exploitation through workshops hosted by Trusted Spaces. She reflected on the workshop and felt safe to disclose some of the traumatic things that she has experienced to her worker. The information she shared has enabled St Christopher’s and other organisations to protect her and other young people. Now she wants to help other young people stay safe in the future by working with the Trusted Spaces team to develop workshops around the things she wished she had known.”

Find out more about Trusted Spaces now.