Victim Care Merseyside partner Catch22 launch new awareness resource for schools ahead of Child Exploitation Awareness Day17.03.23 - Merseyside
The PCC’s Victim Care Merseyside partner Catch22 are launching a new awareness resource for schools ahead of Child Exploitation Awareness Day.
The free educational resource ‘Catch On’ is focused on raising awareness of Child Exploitation among pupils in Years 7 and 8 (aged 11-13).
The social business has highlighted that far too often children are only referred to their services when they have already ‘fallen in’ and suffered harm through exploitation. That means the registered charity is only invited into schools once concerns have been identified.
Instead, they want to focus on prevention and early intervention, to stop children and young people being harmed in the first place.
This Child Exploitation Awareness Day, Catch22 want to equip school staff - as the adults most in contact with children - with the knowledge, confidence and resources to do just that.
This educational resource contains a suite of options for a single lesson or series of lessons exploring the topic of grooming and exploitation. Materials include lesson slides with embedded links and videos; comprehensive lesson plan guidance with photocopiable activity sheets; a handbook for parents and professionals.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner, Emily Spurrell said: “Prevention and early intervention is key in the fight against child exploitation. It’s vital we have resources like this available as guidance for parents, teachers and others working with young people on how to spot the signs of exploitation before they come to any sort of harm.
“Keeping our young people safe is a priority for me and through these fantastic resources we are determined to raise awareness of this harmful and devastating crime and prevent exploitation.
“Catch22 is a service I commission through my Victim Care Merseyside service, who provide high-quality specialist support to any young person who has suffered at the hands of those dangerous individuals who seek to exploit them for their own gain.
“This is a fantastic resource not only for adults but for young people to spot the signs themselves, ensuring they don’t fall prey to these criminals. I encourage all schools to sign up this vital resource and allow for an open discussion to be had with their pupils so that we can ensure to keep them safe.”
The resource has been written by a team of frontline practitioners and a curriculum lead from one of the Catch22 schools. The objective is to make children aware of child exploitation, empower them to recognise the warning signs, and know where to go to get help if they or their friends are targeted.
Whilst Catch On was designed to be used in schools and education provisions, it is available for free to anyone working to support children in any setting.
Kate Wareham, Strategic Director of Young People, Families & Communities at Catch22, said: “We created this resource because we know how important prevention and early intervention are in the fight against child exploitation. Too often, children are referred to Catch22 when they have already suffered harm. Too often, we are only invited into schools once exploitation has been identified. We want to empower children with the knowledge and information they need to spot the signs of exploitation before they come to harm, and we need to inform the adults around them so they can keep children safe.
“Schools fear that routinely covering these issues is an admission there is a problem. This is far from the case. Schools that are willing to tackle these issues proactively, creating an open culture where children feel safe to explore and discuss them are the schools where there is less likely to be a problem.”
Teachers and PSHE Coordinators who piloted the Catch On resources in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent said:
“We did the lesson twice with two different Y7 classes – very mixed ability and with a range of issues and attitudes. They were all very engaged. However we felt it was defo pitched at the right level. We liked the agreeing ground rules and the look of the presentation in general. The case studies were really relevant and we liked that they were cartoons.”
“It was very engaging and really enabled discussion. To be honest, we were a bit shocked at how much some of the kids knew about all this, although some were much less aware. It was definitely stories they could relate to and that encouraged them to reflect on their own experiences.”
“You know, I think you’ve got to take the attitude that it could happen here. You need to create an open forum where children feel safe to share and discuss these things. This resource enabled us to do that.”
“As a teacher, I felt comfortable and confident in the resources. They were clear and non-threatening and I felt I could relax knowing where the lesson was going and what I should be trying to achieve.”
“The Catch On resource will support education providers to confidently deliver sessions on Child Exploitation at a prevention and early intervention level. As PSHE Coordinators, we seek out resources that are quality, age appropriate and reflect PSHE best practice principles. Catch On supports practitioners to consider safe learning environments, provides links to curriculum and includes active learning techniques which support students to build their knowledge, skills and values on this topic.”