The National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day aims to highlight the issues surrounding CSE, encouraging everyone to think, stop and speak out about abuse, and adopt a zero tolerance approach to adults developing inappropriate relationships with children or children developing inappropriate relationships with other children.
As we approach CSE awareness day, Jag, Senior Placement Manager, reflects on the work that she has led to help raise awareness of CSE across AFA Fostering.
“Following my return to work in July 2015, after the birth of my son, I was given an amazing opportunity to be the Lead CSE Practitioner for AFA. CSE and Child Sexual abuse has always been an area of interest of mine and, given the high profile of CSE issues nationally, it was really important that we developed training and resources to help our foster carers understand and respond to CSE issues.
I was supported to develop my knowledge and skills in this area through attending CSE training at several levels, including train the trainer courses, seminars and national conferences. This enabled me to build my confidence in the field and develop a training and guidance programme for staff and foster carers. At the same time AFA became a member of the CSE National Working Group, supporting the work of the leading CSE charity on a regional and national basis.
With the full support of our Senior Management Team, we implemented a CSE strategy and action plan for the agency. This strategy had three main priorities:
- Identfying – Improving awareness, knowledge, understanding and recognition of CSE across the agency
- Preventing – Ensuring children and young people and their carers have the right information and provision to help them keep safe and make healthy choices
- Protecting – Ensuring that plans are in place to safeguard and support children in our care who are at risk of or who have experienced CSE
CSE policies and procedures were developed and put into place in early 2016 and the first staff training was delivered in summer 2016. The first foster carers training was also delivered in 2016 which was a great success, and over the last 18 months more than 100 foster carers have attended our in house CSE1 and CSE 2 training, delivered by either myself or Claire, Placement Manager.
As well as delivering training, another component to my role is to provide guidance to staff and carers where children are at risk of CSE, displaying vulnerabilities, preventative work and children who are high risk and need more specialist intervention. We work closely with our carers, placing Social Workers and other agencies to help keep children safe
I believe as an agency we are proactive in educating and promoting CSE knowledge and understanding, both within the agency and beyond. All of our carers are requested to share their learning with family and friends, as well as with the children in a hope we can protect our children through education.
As an agency we have come a long way in our understanding of CSE issues and I’m really proud of the work that we have undertaken. But of course there is always more that needs to be done, and it is important that we continue to recognize the risks for young people and continue to provide the information and support that young people need to be safe from CSE”.
For more information about the work of the CSE National Working Group and CSE awareness day, please go to https://www.nwgnetwork.org/event_type/national-cse-awareness-day-2018/