Keeping young people safe from exploitation
With an increase in criminal exploitation and online grooming, our Hand in Hand service has never been more important. We support young people at risk of, or currently being, sexually or criminally exploited. Providing them with emotional and practical support, we help break the cycle of exploitation. Emily is a practitioner at Hand in Hand. She spoke to us about what she does and why it is so vital to changing young peoples lives.
What does Hand in Hand do?
What does Hand in Hand do?
‘A regular day working at Hand in Hand involves travelling to meet young people in school or somewhere else where they feel safe and comfortable to be able talk. We are here to listen and make them feel at ease. We work through things that they would like to change in their lives.’
We want to help them be happier and safer.
'Every young person we work with is different. That is why we have to be flexible with how we work with them. Usually we try to set up weekly meetings, but we are conscious that schedules can change at the last minute, so we have to be ready for that.’
Why is it so important?
In recent times, Hand in Hand has seen an increase in referrals for those that have already been sexually abused or exploited. Sometimes these referrals are for considerably younger children. There has also been a sharp rise in the number of young people being groomed through social media and gaming platforms.
‘I feel that the Hand in Hand service is particularly important because we take a centred approach to support. We make sure to focus solely on the young person. We look at how they feel and what steps they can take to break free of their situation.’
‘It is essential for young people to have someone they can trust, who they can speak to confidentially about their challenges. Through this support we can work together to give young people encouragement and hope for a brighter future.’
We never give up on anyone, no matter how difficult things get.
Why the work is so rewarding
‘I enjoy working with young people, supporting them in the way they’d like and on their terms. I learn so much from them and I love hearing their points of view. I strive to give new and better opportunities to young people to empower them to have the best outcomes possible.’
‘I enjoy being able to give young people time; time to listen to them, time to support them, time to let them know we care. Through giving young people our time, we are able to build trust and make positive changes in their lives.’
More than a service
Emily along with all the other workers at Hand in Hand make a huge difference to young people's lives. Their inspiring work helps make them feel more confident, be more active and positive, improve well-being and their outlook on life. Here are just a few young people sharing their appreciation for the service.
‘It gives me more guidance and I don’t talk to strangers anymore.’
quotes about the help of the service
’I feel like I have learnt how to keep myself safe online. I don’t feel as overwhelmed anymore’
I trust her and can talk to her about anything.
‘Hand in hand is that person that is always round the corner no matter how far. It helps you with any worries, to learn more about yourself and understanding of others.’
How to access the service
You can get in touch with our Hand in Hand Service with the following details:
Hand in Hand service
Hillside Enterprise Centre
T: 0113 3876410
T: 07715 122569
Hand in hand report
You can also download the Hand in Hand Evaluation report here