Being a Training Officer - Diane talks about her work at Safe and Sound, Derby
What motivates Diane to work in training in this field: 'It is especially important to me that ordinary members of our society are aware that [sexual exploitation] happens and that they know how to recognise and report any concerns they may have.' Think about your own passions when you're considering your career choices...
As the training coordinator for Safe and Sound Derby, I am involved in the development, planning and delivery of Child Sexual Exploitation training, which is delivered to a wide range of agencies and individuals not only in Derby but across the country. This training is tailored to the individual requirements of each agency or organisation.
The training is offered to Child Protection officers, teaching and non-teaching staff in schools and other educational settings, governors and school nurses. The training covers the triggers and indicators to aid recognition of a sexually exploited young person, the grooming process, the use of internet and mobile phones in the grooming process and how to make a referral to Safe and Sound Derby. The training is then reinforced by our Prevention and Education worker who attends all of the secondary schools in Derby and delivers a lesson in PSHE to year groups 8, 9 and 10 along with post 16s. These lessons cover the grooming process, sexual exploitation and how to keep safe. Young people are shown how to recognise an abusive relationship and how to access support should they feel concerned or worried about a relationship they are in.
Similar training is delivered to those people working in health who come into contact with young people through their workplace such as health visitors, specialist NHS teams and those staff working in Accident and Emergency Departments. The training assists them in recognising signs of sexual exploitation and, as staffing in A&E is often very fluid, this training is delivered on a rolling programme, ensuring all staff have an awareness not only of sexual exploitation but also of how to make a referral and to whom.
Another important group that receive training are the Police. I deliver basic awareness training to police community support officers (PCSOs). They work on the front-line as a visible presence on the streets where young people congregate. The training they receive will also enable them to feed back to Safe and Sound Outreach Team any hot spot areas or concerns they may have regarding particular groups or individuals.
I have always delivered awareness-raising sessions to community groups and faith groups such as Women's Institutes, Mothers Unions, and Ladies' Groups. These sessions are an excellent method of reaching members of the community, particularly mothers, grandmothers and aunts who may not normally have access to training, or be aware of sexual exploitation. Although most people are aware of familial abuse, it is important that the two are not confused. Sexual exploitation of children is not limited to a particular community or culture. It is especially important to me that ordinary members of our society are aware that it happens and that they know how to recognise and report any concerns they may have. These groups support us with donations of toiletries, food items, clothing and money and will often hold fund raisers on our behalf.
I also facilitate training to those agencies that work solely or mainly with boys and young men (the issues facing this group of sexually exploited young people differs from those of the girls and young women and therefore the understanding and response differs).
The training can last between 1 hour for a basic overview to a day (which would include case studies, information reporting and the relevant legislation (The Sex Act 2003). Part of my role is to keep up to date with changes to the law, responses other cities are making, and the work we do here at Safe and Sound. As the sexual exploitation of children is a lucrative business for abusers they are always one step ahead in the methods they use to ensnare, groom and abuse. Therefore, I always need to be aware of what is happening in order to keep the training relevant.