Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is a form of child sexual abuse. It is a crime with devastating and long-lasting consequences for its victims and families. Childhood and family life can be ruined, and this is compounded when victims or those at risk of abuse, do not receive appropriate, immediate and on-going support.  

The YMCA WiSE Project are a core team of Project Workers based across Surrey, East Sussex and Brighton & Hove, who provide specialist support to children and young people up to the age of 25 who are at risk of or experiencing child sexual exploitation (CSE); as well as raising awareness of CSE and other forms of exploitation, such as Child Criminal Exploitation.    

At YMCA WiSE, building positive, trusting relationships with children and young people is the foundation of our work. As well as offering specialist and targeted CSE work, we also provide support that looks at the whole person, including their physical, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing. 


Many of the children and young people we work with have complex needs and a variety of vulnerabilities, including lack of stability, guidance and boundariesUsing a trauma informed approach with a holistic support model, we aim to build safe and stable environments for children and young people so that meaningful psychoeducational work can be completed, which can reduce and/or prevent the risk of sexual exploitation as well as other key risks 

Our trauma informed approach and holistic support model can sometimes mean that the targeted CSE work is deferred until we have built a positive and trusting relationship with the child or young person and addressed any support needs that may require immediate attention. Once a relationship has been built and the child or young person appears to be more stable physically and emotionally, CSE work can progress. Timescales for intervention can vary and are assessed on case by case basis.  

YMCA WiSE Project Workers work collaboratively with other professionals, such as children’s services, police, health and education, to support interventions which keep children and young people safe, disrupt the activity of perpetrators and where possible, lead to prosecutions. WiSE Project Workers play an active and important part within the multi-agency team and regularly attend and participate in multi-agency professional meetings such as Risk Management Meetings, Strategy Discussions and Child Protection Conferences. 

Please note that engagement with the YMCA WiSE Project is voluntary; professionals cannot include YMCA WiSE as a compulsory part of a child or young person’s contract, order or conditional agreement. You must ensure that you have discussed a referral to YMCA WiSE with the child or young person and got their consent.  Contact your local YMCA WiSE office if you require support in explaining the role of the project to a child and young person. 


How can we Support?

Where a positive relationship already exists between a child/young person and their worker, we may recommend that a YMCA WiSE Project Worker support’s that worker in delivering the direct work around CSE. Where a child has no such relationship with a worker and would benefit from specialist support from YMCA WiSE, we may offer one to one work. 

We offer two main forms of support through a Consultation service and Direct Work.  

Consultation – If you, as a professional, already have a positive relationship with a child or young person you are working with, it could be more effective for us to support you in delivering work. Sessions could include grooming, healthy relationships, protective behaviour work, consent, sexual health and other related topics to increase understanding and reduce vulnerabilities. We can support you to put together a set of sessions and share resources in order to deliver this work effectively to a child or young person.  

Click Here for a Referral Form. 

Direct Work – If there are no professional relationships or a more specialised approach is required, we can offer direct work with a child or young person. We aim to meet with the child or young person weekly in order to build a strong relationship and work towards achieving the objectives set out in our robust support plans, which are regularly reviewed. We recognise that this work takes time and can only be effective when the young person feels safe, stable and begins to trust their YMCA WiSE Worker. 

Click Here for Referral Form. 

*Please note that we are a voluntary service and it is important that you get the young person's consent before you make a referral to YMCA WiSE Project

Depending on area and capacity: We are sometimes able to undertake a short period of targeted brief intervention (4 to 8 sessions) for a vulnerable young person. Please send all enquiries through to YMCA WiSE inbox.  

*We aim to respond to all referrals within 10 working days.  Any urgent safeguarding matters need to be referred immediately to Children’s Social Care or the Police. 

*Please refrain from using victim blaming language such as ‘putting themselves at risk’ ‘wearing provocative clothing’   

Referral Process

All WiSE referrals go directly to the WiSE inbox, which is monitored by Team Managers. We endeavour to make contact to discuss the referral within 10 working days. We are a small team covering 3 counties and at times we may have to operate a waiting list. Our referrals are triaged as a team and will be rated dependent on several factors; all new referrals will be considered alongside existing cases on the waiting list. We endeavour to prioritise and allocate according to risk level and need.  

When discussing our service with a young person and their family, it would be helpful if you could manage their expectations by advising that we may not always be able to accept the referral. If we are unable to accept a referral, we will always try to signpost and suggest onward referrals for the young person.  


We deliver multiagency training within East Sussex ad Brighton & Hove through the LSCB. You can find details of upcoming events on their website. We can also provide bespoke training to any organisation across all 3 of our areas. Please get in touch for more information on content and cost. 

Professional Feedback Form

If we have supported you as a professional or a young person you are working with and would like to leave us feedback please click here. Feedback is really useful in shaping our future work.  


Frequently asked questions

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