What is WiSE?

WiSE is a Child Sexual Exploitation Project which works in Brighton & Hove, East Sussex and Surrey. We are based within YMCA DLG and work with young people from 11-25. We support young people affected by exploitation by raising awareness, educating and empowering. Typically, we do this in 1-2-1 sessions with the young person and/or parent or carer, but we also deliver support in schools, consultations with professionals and create resources for young people. We are a non-statutory service which means we are independent from the Police and Social Services. 

Why is my child working with you?

Young people can self refer to us or be referred by a parent or carer or someone who works with children and young people such as Teachers, Health Workers, Police and Social Workers. It is up to the young person to wether they want to work with us. Nobody is forced to work with us and we allow young people to make their own decision. When we receive a referral we will look carefully for indicators of CSE (either historic, current or if the young person is at risk) and then make a decision about if we can offer support. 

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What does a session look like?

Typically, our sessions are casual and relaxed.  Talking to young people about Child Sexual Exploitation can be an emotive and deeply personal topic. We focus on making the young person feel comfortable and safe. Sessions can take place in cafes, at the beach, on a walk or in a YMCA DLG space. Topics of conversation might include relationships, sex, consent, empowerment and mental health.  

During Covid-19, we have adapted to working remotely and have been supporting young people via video calls and messaging.  Whilst we are now able to see young people face to face we are continuing to offer remote support to young people who would like this.

Will I know what you talk about with my child?

Part of having a safe space with young people is maintaining confidentiality.  We are honest and transparent with young people about what that means.  We will only break confidentiality and involve others if we feel there is an imminent risk posed to them or if they have been harmed. If you have similar concerns for your child please do let us know as soon as possible.   

I’m worried about my child – can I refer them to you?

Yes. Before making a referral we would ask that you take a look at our page about what is CSE. It might be that we aren’t the right service for your child, but in this instance we will try to signpost you to a service which would be more appropriate.  

How can I help?

There are two ways you can help and support. The first is around supporting your child's sessions with us. Be mindful of the work we do and allow your child time and space to attend. Sometimes sessions can bring up difficult emotions and whilst we will take every effort to ensure a session ends positively and with the young person feeling safe and heard, please be mindful of this also.  Some young people may need some space and time to themselves afterwards.  Secondly, you can support our work by finding out more about CSE. CSE not only affects the child but the family as often parents feel anxious, stressed and worried that they are in some way to blame. Any child can be vulnerable to CSE and it is never anyone’s fault but the perpetrator. Try to be consistent and compassionate and make space for your child to talk to you. 

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What if I need support?

If you would like help supporting a child affected by exploitation please complete our referral form. If you would like to speak to someone about a referral or need help completing the form please contact us on wise@ymcadlg.org.

For more information about how parents and carers can support children affected by exploitation please see the PACE website.

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YMCA DLG

YMCA enables people to develop their full potential in mind, body and spirit. Inspired by and faithful to our Christian values, we create supportive, inclusive and energising communities, where young people can truly belong, contribute and thrive.

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