Award winning young people's charity Reclaim have been funded by the Police and Crime commissioner to deliver a young woman led project to raise awareness about Child Sexual Expoitation.
REIGN is an innovative, youth-led project which aims to raise awareness about child sexual exploitation (CSE) and affect change in this area.
The project is the idea of a young woman who has been affected by the issue. She chose the name Reign as she wanted to communicate that young women can take control of their lives and reign over their communities like queens.
CSE is nothing new. It has damaged children’s lives for countless years. What is new, is the fact that we are collectively starting to wake up to the fact that something needs to be done about it at a grass-roots and at government level.
Child Sexual Exploitation
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) can take many forms. Grooming can happen online, in relationships with older men a girl may see as her boyfriend, and in neighbourhoods by shopkeepers, taxi drivers etc. It can also happen within gangs.
One definition is:
“Someone taking advantage of you sexually, for their own benefit. Through threats, bribes, violence, humiliation, or by telling you that they love you, they will have the power to get you to do sexual things for their own, or other people’s benefit or enjoyment (including: touching or kissing private parts, sex, taking sexual photos)” (Coy et al, 2011 ‘Boys think girls are toys’ London Metropolitan University evaluation of Nia project)
Seeking young women pioneers
Paramount to REIGN is the idea that young people are the best ones to educate their peers on these issues. Reclaim aim to recruit more young women aged around 16-25 to pioneer this project.
By young women coming together, sharing experiences and support they can empower themselves and each other to speak out. Their voices will be at the centre of what we deliver. They will create interactive teaching materials and deliver training to those in key positions, such as teachers, social workers and police officers, to help create a better understanding of what early intervention looks like.
The young pioneers will be supported to participate and will participate in fun activities designed to build self-esteem and social networks, recognising that the experience of CSE can have lasting impact on people’s lives and well-being.