What we do
- detailed assessments
- intensive support programme
- groupwork with children and young people who may be vulnerable to being abused through sexual exploitation
- preventive work in schools
- risk awareness work with young parents who may be vulnerable to being groomed by perpetrators in order to access their children
- Arts4U programme
- consultation regarding specific cases
- training for professionals from multi agencies
- reports, information and resources
Intensive support programme with children and young people aged 10 to 18 who are at risk of or abused through sexual exploitation
Model of practice
Barnardo’s has been involved in child sexual exploitation work since 1995. The core features of our model of practice can be summarised in the four A’s of:
- assertive outreach
Evidence of good practice suggests that intervention; support and action should be based upon the child or young person’s needs and be delivered by a trusted worker in conjunction with a protective network of appropriate agencies.
Level and duration
The presence of multiple vulnerabilities and risks in the lives of children and young people at significant risk of sexual exploitation often means that they are described by professionals as ‘difficult to engage’. By the point in a child or young person’s life where they are significantly at risk of or are already abused through sexual exploitation they are subject to a complex pattern of life experiences which impact negatively on each dimension of their life. Evidence from research and practice identifies that a key feature of successful work with children and young people at risk of or abused through sexual exploitation is its long term nature. The service offers a range of programmes from 3 to 12 months intensive support programmes.
A detailed assessment of risk and need will be made during the initial months with interim reports at 6 week or 12 week intervals dependant on inidividual cases.
Initially the practitioner will focus on building a positive relationship with the child or young person. This will involve at least weekly direct work sessions. The sessions will centre on activities based on the child’s own interests.
The length of time taken to establish a positive working relationship depends on each individual child’s circumstances and the timescales are therefore approximate. Seraf practitioners make a significant investment of time using a range of techniques to encourage and enable children and young people to engage with the service.
Once a positive relationship has been established the work plan will include a mix of activities and issue-based work aimed at addressing the risks and needs identified through the assessment.
The assessment and work will identify an overall level of risk in relation to sexual exploitation, factors which present specific risk to the young person and recommendations for how risks can be addressed and protective factors increased.
It is crucial that time is taken to establish a positive, trusting relationship between young people and their Seraf workers in order for accurate information to be gathered. In order to support this relationship and promote trust the details of sessions will remain confidential to the Seraf Service, whilst information relevant to safeguarding and protection will always be shared.
Barnardo’s Seraf Service has a written confidentiality statement given to young people that says:
We will not discuss your circumstances or give out information about you to anyone outside of Seraf Service unless you give your permission and agree what is being said. However, there may be times, like if we find out that you or any one else is in a life-threatening situation or that you are a danger to yourself or others, when we will need to pass information on to others.
Objectives of the intensive support programme are to:
- enable a child or young person to develop a relationship of trust with a protective adult
- enable her/him to break from harmful, abusive and exploitative relationships
- increase his/her ability to recognise risky and exploitative relationships
- increase ability to assert her/his rights
- increase awareness around the risks of her/his behaviour (e.g. going missing)
- enable the child or young person to make informed choices
- enable her/him to improve own safety through the provision of ongoing support
- improve self-esteem
- be delivered in a supportive, confidential and young person focussed environment.
The intensive support will be provided by a practitioner who will:
- engage in assertive outreach to develop and maintain a positive and meaningful relationship with the child or young person
- undertake an assessment of risk and need in relation to sexual exploitation
- develop a personalised work plan in conjunction with the individual child or young person
- take part in activities with the child or young person based on particular, individual interests
- deliver one-to-one sessions covering self-esteem, personal safety, recognising harmful and healthy relationships, risk-taking behaviours, protective behaviours, etc, in line with the individual work plan
- support the child or young person in accessing appropriate services such as sexual health, counselling and safe accommodation
- offer specialist advice, support, and consultation services to colleagues in other agencies
- work with colleagues from multi-agencies to promote a co-ordinated and integrated service response to the needs of the child or young person.
Groupwork with children and young people who may be vulnerable to being abused through sexual exploitation
Are delivered to groups of children and young people such as looked after children, care leavers and children outside of mainstream education, in the form of group work sessions facilitated by qualified Seraf practitioners.
- sessions can be tailored and delivered taking into account the individual needs of the group
- delivered typically as a six week programme covering areas such as recognising risks; the grooming process; power, coercion, manipulation and abuse in relationships; routes and reasons into sexual exploitation; risk taking behaviour and identifying safety strategies.
These sessions are designed to fit into schools’ PHSE programmes and are delivered by qualified practitioners in the classroom setting. They’re aim is to educate children and young people in relation to potential risk situations in order for them to keep themselves safe.
Risk awareness work with young parents who may be vulnerable to being groomed by perpetrators in order to access their children
Where colleagues have concerns that a child or young person with whom they work may be at risk of sexual exploitation,a skilled Seraf practitioner can offer consultation and advice regarding assessment of risk and need and interventions to meet need and protect.
Practitioners are available to attend strategy/professionals meetings in relation to children at risk of or abused through sexual exploitation.
To confirm there are no costs attached to completing assessments or attending multi-agency strategy meetings.
Funding and costs
For details regarding our spot purchasing or service level agreements for our direct 1:1 or groupwork please contact the service directly.
Learning objectives for training are tailored to the specific needs of the course participants. Learning objectives for a typical course would be to enable participants to:
- Gain a greater understanding of child sexual exploitation including definitions, triangles of abuse and processes of control
- Gain a greater understanding of the impact of this form of abuse on children and young people
- Understand the context of CSE in Wales
- Explore professional assumptions of sexually exploited children and young people
- Explore practice issues and complexities relating to working with sexually exploited children
- Identify risk and vulnerability indicators for children and young people at risk of CSE drawing on best practice and research
- Understand Government guidance and the responsibilities of their agencies to sexually exploited children
- Consider the needs of sexually exploited children and young people drawing on messages from research and how this can inform an appropriate response
Again, learning objectives for training are tailored to the specific needs of course participants. Learning objectives for a typical course would be to enable participants to:
- Increase knowledge of best practice models for engagement and intervention with children and young people at risk of or abused through sexual exploitation
- Explore practice issues and complexities relating to working with sexually exploited children
- Explore methods and tools for use in direct work – both group and individual work
- Understand the SERAF (sexual exploitation risk assessment framework)
- Work within a risk assessment framework to assess and meet the needs of children and young people
- Explore the need for a multi-agency approach
Reports, Information and Resources
- out of sight, out of mind: Child sexual exploitation (Coles,2005) (PDF)
- Reducing the risk:Barnardo's support for sexually exploited young people: A two-year evaluation (Scott and Skidmore,2006) (PDF).
- SERAF: a pilot study (Clutton and Coles,2007) English(PDF)
- SERAF: a pilot study (Clutton and Coles,2007) Welsh (PDF)
- Barnardo's Cymru Seraf Service Inside Out Report (2012)(PDF)
- Child sexual exploitation booklet: sex, secrets and lies - English (PDF)
- Child sexual exploitation booklet: sex, secrets and lies - Welsh (PDF)
- Barnardo's Cymru Sexual Exploitation Risk Assessment Framework Report - English (PDF)
- Barnardo's Cymru Sexual Exploitation Risk Assessment Framework Report - Welsh (PDF)