Claire is a Team Manager at SEEN, which stands for Sexual Exploitation Ends Now. Here, she explains how the group works and how it supports young people who have been targeted by abuse online.
“I work with the team to offer confidential and specialist support in a safe environment for children and young people at risk of, or currently being, sexually exploited.
Each situation is completely unique, and often the child might not understand what’s happening or will feel scared to tell someone. That’s where we come in, to support the child and help them to recover.
Child sexual exploitation happens when a young person is encouraged or forced to take part in sexual activity. It is never the child’s fault. We offer a range of support such as one-to-one counselling, group work and drop-in sessions.
Let me tell you about 14 year old Joe*, who enjoys joining in with his friends on social media.
A girl messaged him on Snapchat, and they started chatting most evenings.
She started sharing some pictures of herself in her underwear, which was more forward than Joe had imagined, but he felt excited at the idea of maybe having a girlfriend soon. He sent a picture back and, in time, they shared some videos.
Suddenly, the girl stopped contacting him. He received messages from a man he didn’t know, with the videos he’d sent to the girl. Sick with worry, Joe messaged back asking why he had his videos and was told: pay a lot of money, send more videos or these go to your friends and family.
Thankfully, Joe’s parents had noticed a change in him, checked his phone and found the messages. After speaking with police and a social worker, Joe was helped to realise that he’d been targeted by an adult male posing as a teenage girl. Joe was then referred to us and we were able to offer him support in coping with what had happened and a road to recovery.
Staff working directly with children and young people reported** a 35% increase to services where children were showing harmful signs of sexual behaviour, with 30% saying most took place online.
Joe’s project worker, met him every week for six weeks. She helped him with managing his anxiety and feelings of self-blame and introduced self-care techniques, working with him to help him return to using the internet safely.
Some of this important work is made possible thanks to the generosity of Barnardo’s supporters!
Find out how you can help
You can help the vulnerable children and young people we support to continue to grow and become independent by leaving a gift in your Will.
A gift in your Will is a special way to mark the experiences that shape you – and pass on the gift of childhood to future generations.
*not his real name.
**Barnardo’s Quarterly Practitioner Survey, Oct-Nov 21
This content is sponsored by Barnardo's
This content is sponsored byLast modified: August 31, 2022