Following the success of our virtual conference for Keys Group colleagues, last week saw the conference rolled out externally – to professionals working with vulnerable children and young people.
The event, “Exploitation; Listen, understand, recognise, protect, prevent” brought together those with lived experience, and professionals working with vulnerable children, to explore a range of important subjects.
The event instigated by Keys National Specialist Advisor for Exploitation, Katherine Proudman, considered how we, as professionals, can ensure that by listening to children and young people, we are better able to understand what exploitation is and recognise the signs – so that we can protect our young people from exploitation and prevent it from happening.
The speakers included Child sexual Exploitation and Child Criminal Exploitation survivors who gave very honest accounts of their experiences. Victoria Wilde from the National Crime Agency, also spoke about her involvement in the Rotherham CSE investigation, Operation Stovewood.
In her presentation “I’m Not Having This” Emma, an exploitation survivor discussed how she struck back at her abusers and how she is using her lived experience as an exploitation survivor to help vulnerable children and young people. At the age of 13 Emma was groomed and sexually exploited by a gang of men in Rotherham.
In 2016 Emma received justice as part of Operation Clover. Ten of her abusers were charged and found guilty on all counts. Since then, Emma has gone on to study BA (Hons) Social Work at university and is now in her final year.
“I know what it’s like to be a frustrated and disengaged teen, and then to be transformed by the right support”
Daniel – Director of Creating Effective Generations, shared his life story and past experience of involvement in crime as a youth. He also discussed how exploitation operations are run, social media’s influence on CSE and CCE and creating exit strategies and solutions.
He now uses his experiences to positively support children and young people affected by exploitation, gang involvement and County Lines, or who are at risk of exploitation in many forms.
Keys Group are looking to hold similar educational events for professionals in the future on a range of topics facing vulnerable young people today.