Parents and teachers urged to take part in online sessions about dangers of County Lines
A series of workshops aimed at educating parents and professionals about the dangers of criminal exploitation of young people in Norfolk, are being held again over the next four months.
The events are being hosted by St Giles as part of its SOS+ Project – first commissioned by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk (OPCCN) in November 2018.
The webinars were launched in September last year due to restrictions posed by the pandemic and so far, hundreds of parents, teachers and education professionals have taken part.
The latest series of sessions will take place in December, January, February and March.
Norfolk’s PCC Giles Orpen-Smellie, said: “We all have a duty to ensure we do all we can to safeguard our young people to help guide them along the right paths in life.
“It is really positive so many parents and professionals have taken part in the sessions to date and I hope many more will follow suit over the coming months.
“We can never do enough to protect young people in Norfolk.”
By the end of each webinar – delivered by those with lived experience - it is hoped parents and professionals will, crucially be able to understand the meaning of the term County Lines, understand the methods used to exploit young people, recognise key signs and indicators and encourage healthy conversations with their children and /or students.
The next sessions are due to take place on the 15 December, 13 January, 9 February and 15 March for parents and 10, 13 December, 18, 26 January, 1, 17, 28 February and 7 and 21 March for professionals.
Clare Bradley, Contract Manager at St Giles, said: "County lines exploitation is a sad fact of life for many children and young people.
"However, the good news is that by raising awareness, educating young people on the risk and helping them identify the signs of grooming and exploitation we can prevent it.
"We are grateful to be working in partnership with Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner to enable young people to benefit from this work and keep young lives on track."
National charity St Giles originally received £89,028 under the Hidden Victims’ Fund and a further £87,737 under the Home Office’s Early Intervention Youth Fund to run the three-year SOS+ Project which aims to provide 120 preventative sessions to around 8,600 schoolchildren in Norfolk.
Intensive one to one support is also offered for those deemed at high risk and awareness raising sessions delivered to parents and teachers.
Thousands of pupils, parents and teachers have taken part in the initiative. During the pandemic the team at St Giles, have been working hard to ensure the message continues to be spread.
As well as the webinars the team also created an animation, adapted for Key Stages 3 and 4, which tells the story of Nathan who is groomed and exploited by his best friend’s brother.
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St Giles is an award-winning charity using expertise and real-life experiences to empower people who are not getting the help they need, held back by poverty, exploited, abused, dealing with mental health problems, caught up in crime or a combination of these issues.
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