Close-up of a devastated young man holding his head in his hands and friends supporting him during group therapy

19 March 2020

 “Child exploitation is happening in Sussex and is more prevalent than people may think.”  Katy Bourne, Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner

As part of ongoing efforts to support victims of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne has awarded £80,000 to our highly successful YMCA WiSE project.

Figures released on 18th March 2020 (national CSE day) demonstrate a 19% increase in these crimes over the last 12 months from 823 in 2018 to 977 in 2019.

Speaking about the funding, Sussex Police said: “Across Sussex specialist support services have been stretched to cope with this influx in young people and their families coming forward for help.

Among those successful in their bid for funding is YMCA DownsLink Group. Their project, YMCA WiSE, will use part of the £80,000 grant to address a current gap in services by working with parents, carers and families of those affected by CSE.

The services offer one-to-one counselling and help young victims report and give evidence, which can often be a traumatic experience. They will also put preventative measures in place by educating young people and parents/carers on how to spot the signs of grooming in the first instance.”

Our Head of Youth Involvement, Mark Cull explains why the funding is so important:

“At a time when we are seeing ever-increasing demand on our YMCA WiSE Child Sexual Exploitation project, the funding from our Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner is vital in helping us support victims and also through our work, help bring perpetrators of child abuse in front of the Criminal Justice System. We thank Katy and her team for their continued support of YMCA WiSE.”

To find out more about child sexual exploitation visit YMCA WiSE.