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Safe Choices Northern Ireland

Barnardo's NI Safe Choices aims to reduce the risk of children and young people being sexually exploited and to help reduce the number of missing episodes from home or care, which can make young people vulnerable to being exploited. Safe Choices is a regional service, providing a service within all five Health and Social Care Trust areas.

Evaluation of Safe Choices/PSNI Co-Located Pilot Initiative

This report presents an evaluation of a pilot initiative in which a specialist missing/child sexual exploitation practitioner, from the Barnardo’s NI Safe Choices service, was co-located with a police Missing and Vulnerable Persons Officer in a Public Protection Unit in a Belfast police station. It was developed in response to accumulated learning about the need for, and benefits of, multi-agency working in the fields of missing and CSE, and the specific contribution that co-location can make to the effective facilitation of this (Jago and Pearce 2008; DCSF 2009; Beckett 2011; Jago et al 2011).

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Our Vision

The lives of all our children and young people will be free from sexual exploitation.

What is child sexual exploitation?

There are many definitions of child sexual exploitation (CSE), however, the one adopted by Safe Choices is:

Child sexploitation is a form of sexual abuse in which a person(s) exploits, coerces and/or manipulates a child or young person into engaging in some form of sexual activity in return for something the child needs or desires and/or for the gain of the person(s) perpetrating or facilitating the abuse. (SBNI 2014, adopted from the CSE Knowledge Transfer Partnership NI).

Find out more information about the key indicators of CSE, or watch 'False Freedom,' a film highlighting the issues around Child Sexual Exploitation.

Who do we work with?

Safe Choices works with children and young people (male and female), within and outside of the care system, who are:

  • being sexually exploited;
  • at risk of being sexually exploited;
  • going missing from home or care;
  • up to the age of 18.

Safe Choices is an additional specialist service which currently only accepts referrals scoring either moderate (11 - 15) or significant (16+) on the CSE Risk Assessment.

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