How do I refer a young person?

Please complete the referral form as fully as possible. It’s not just a checklist; we need to have as much information as possible in order to respond appropriately. If you’re unsure you can call us to discuss.

How long will it take?

YMCA WiSE aims to respond to all referrals within 10 working days. We are a small team working across Brighton & Hove and East Sussex and need to screen the referrals carefully so that those children and young people with the highest level of risk and safeguarding needs are responded to as a priority. Urgent safeguarding matters need to be referred immediately to Children’s Social Care or the Police.

How will YMCA WiSE support the child/ young person?

At YMCA WiSE we believe that where a positive relationship already exists between a child and a worker, it is usually most appropriate for YMCA WiSE to support that worker in delivering work around sexual exploitation and relationships, rather than taking on a case ourselves. 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 can meet with a child to come up with a plan for the work, incorporating their own wishes for support with those from referring agencies and YMCA WiSE.

Please be aware that this sort of work takes time. It can only be effective when the child or young person has built up a relationship with the worker and begins to trust them. Sexual exploitation sits within the broader context of relationships, family, self esteem, body image, assertiveness, rights & responsibilities, and can affect housing, substance use, offending behaviour, mental health, amongst other needs. The work that we undertake at YMCA WiSE might involve supporting the young person with some of these other things before approaching the issue of sexual exploitation. We want to work to build on their protective factors and behaviours in order to minimise their vulnerability and risks of being sexually exploited.  YMCA WiSE also works closely with a number of other agencies and services and it may be most appropriate to refer the young person elsewhere for the support they need.

Engagement with the YMCA WiSE Project is voluntary; professionals cannot include YMCA WiSE as a compulsory part of a 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 need support in explaining the role of the project to a young person.


We deliver multi agency training through both Brighton & Hove and East Sussex LSCBs. You can find details of upcoming events and booking information on their websites. We can provide bespoke training and workshops to any organisation or team in East Sussex, Brighton and Hove or Surrey. Please get in touch for more information on content and cost.

East Sussex Local Safeguarding Children’s Board:
East Sussex LSCB also provides an e-learning module, available to all staff and volunteers supporting children, young people and families in East Sussex, click here to download.

Brighton and Hove Local Safeguarding Children’s Board:

Useful links

Sussex Police: Information on CSE and how to report.
The Portal: If you’ve been affected by domestic or sexual abuse or violence (or are working with someone who has) in Brighton & Hove or East Sussex, get in touch to find out more about the help, advice and support available.
NWG Network: Organisation formed as a UK network of over 1000 practitioners working on the issue of child sexual exploitation (CSE) and trafficking within the UK. Covers voluntary and statutory services. Offers support, advice and raise the profile, provide updates, share national developments, influence the development of national and local policy informed by practice.
PACE UK: Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation. Offers support, advice and information to parents, carers and families of sexually exploited young people.
CEOP: Find information on current CEOP activity and where to seek help and advice in relation to internet safety issues.
Survivor’s Network: Survivors’ Network is a registered charity that aims to reduce sexual violence and its impact on survivors’ lives. We are a fully accredited member of Rape Crisis England and Wales and are the Rape Crisis Centre for Sussex.

Useful resources

NSPCC’s Net aware: Up to date information on current apps/social media sites
Think You Know: Resources focusing on internet and new technologies by CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection, part of SOCA)
Dove Self Esteem Project: Self esteem toolkits & resources
Friend or Foe?: Resource pack around CSE