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Derby and Derbyshire Launch New Service Addressing Child Exploitation

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Case Support Workers Helen West and Simone Gill with Service Manager Marc Stevens

Catch22 today announces the launch of Derby and Derbyshire C.A.R.E.S – a service commissioned by Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa, and Derby and Derbyshire Local Authorities, to tackle child exploitation across the region.

In 2019, Derbyshire Police recorded more than 200 incidents related to child sexual exploitation, covering both physical contact and online exploitation.

Derby and Derbyshire C.A.R.E.S will include long-term interventions to reduce risk and to help young people cope and recover from the impacts of exploitation.

The service will share its Catch22 resources and teach protective behaviours in schools. By working with young people at risk of exploitation, as well as their parents and guardians, the one-on-one and group support will empower them and their families to stay safe, free of charge.

Catch22’s Marc Stevens and Service Manager for Derby and Derbyshire C.A.R.E.S says:

“It is everyone’s business to care about the exploitation of our young people – whether it’s using the most vulnerable people in our communities to commit criminal behaviour or abusing them physically.

“Children are not a means and as adults, we have a responsibility to support victims and their families, to minimise risk, and to do everything we can to prevent this behaviour from occurring.”

Hardyal Dhindsa, Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, adds:

“Abuse and exploitation, in any form, is unacceptable and its impact on those who have been victimised in this way can last a lifetime. The fact that children and young people can be treated in this way fills me with horror.

“I think I have a duty to provide these young and vulnerable victims with appropriate support services, that can be tailored to their individual needs.

“You don’t have to report the incident to the police to get support. While we always encourage people to report such experience to the police, we understand they may be hesitant to come forward if they have to talk to the police first. It’s more important that people get the help they need.

“The service is designed specifically to support those subjected to this type of behaviour. I truly hope it will help them to cope and recover and move forward with their lives.”

Catch22’s Children at Risk of Exploitation (CRE) services include, but are not limited to, victims of child sexual exploitation, child criminal exploitation, county lines, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and child victims of human trafficking and modern-day slavery.

Catch22 delivers similar services in Stoke-on-trent, Staffordshire, Coventry and in Pan Merseyside. The organisation was the first in the UK to deliver a service which collectively addressed sexual and criminal exploitation, recognising the often overlapping risk factors between the two.

The Derby and Derbyshire service is commissioned to work intensively with young people across the regions at any one time, from 2020 until 2021.

The launch comes on National Child Exploitation Awareness Day, delivered by NWG Network, where everyone is encouraged to think, spot and speak out against abuse and to adopt a zero tolerance approach to adults developing inappropriate relationships with children.

ENDS

For any media enquiries, including interview requests, please contact Josie at media@Catch- 22.org.uk or call 07506 370794

For those who wish to make a referral to the service, contact 07714 614563

What is child sexual exploitation?

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) 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 using technology.

What is child criminal exploitation?

Child criminal exploitation occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18. The victim may have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears consensual. Child Criminal Exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology. Examples of exploitation are ‘county lines’, when gangs and organised crime networks groom and exploit children to sell drugs. For more on the signs of exploitation, visit here.

 About Catch22

Catch22 is a charity which works at every stage of the social welfare cycle, supporting 65,000 individuals last year. As well as operating in the child exploitation space and online harms, it delivers children’s social care, alternative education, apprenticeships and employability programmes, justice and rehabilitation services, gangs intervention work, substance misuse programmes. For more about our work, visit here.

Posted on Tuesday 17th March 2020
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