CSE - Phoenix Project

The Phoenix Project

93.3% of females and 94.4% of males under 18 said that there would be barriers preventing them from disclosing abuse

The Phoenix Project is a confidential service to support children, young people and their families who are at risk of or affected by Childhood Sexual Exploitation (CSE).

The project supports children and young people aged 8 -17 to make positive choices about healthy relationships and personal safety. We also provide a package of support for parents and carers to help them understand childhood sexual exploitation and to safeguard the children and young people in their care.

Spurgeons has been running the project across Birmingham since 2013, with funding support from Comic Relief, a Big Lottery Fund Reaching Communities grant and the Esme Fairbairn Foundation.

What is Childhood Sexual Exploitation (CSE)?

Child sexual exploitation is a form of sexual abuse. It occurs where anyone under the age of 18 is persuaded, coerced or forced into sexual activity in exchange for money, drugs, alcohol, gifts, affection or status, among other things. Consent is irrelevant, even where a child may believe they are voluntarily engaging in sexual activity with the person who is exploiting them. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact and may occur online.

The warning signs of CSE can include:

The child goes missing
The child goes missing

They receive unexplained gifts
They receive unexplained gifts

They become associated with a gang
They become associated with a gang

Their mood changes or they may have a low mood or depression
Their mood changes or they may have a low mood or depression

They misuse drugs and/or alcohol
They misuse drugs and/or alcohol

They miss school
They miss school

They become secretive
They become secretive

They demonstrate inappropriate sexualised behaviour
They demonstrate inappropriate sexualised behaviour

They have sexual health issues
They have sexual health issues

They become vulnerable through internet or social networking sites
They become vulnerable through internet or social networking sites

Our Approach

Our service programmes are individually designed to make sure we can be effective within the local community and provide support to fulfil each individual's needs.

Our Services

The range of services at one of our Children's Centres typically includes:

Young Parents Group
Young Parents Group

Stay and play sessions
Stay and play sessions

Father support groups
Father support groups

Supporting parent and child relationships, family therapym nurturing
Supporting parent and child relationships, family therapy, nurturing

Baby Clinics
Baby Clinics

Helping parents return to work
Helping parents return to work

Our Children’s Centres can be found across the UK. Use our interactive map to locate your nearest centre

How does the Phoenix Project help?

Weekly support for young people - Phoenix provides weekly support sessions to young people who are vulnerable to CSE. This includes helping them understand:

Awareness sessions for practitioners
we also deliver awareness raising sessions for practitioners and young people in schools.

Healthy and unhealthy relationships
Healthy and unhealthy relationships

Risk management
Risk management

Grooming in relationships
Grooming in relationships

Consent and the law
Consent and the law

How to stay safe online
How to stay safe online

Advice and support for parents

we provide targeted work with parents and carers including:

CSE awareness training
CSE awareness training

Understanding and living with the risks and safety plans
Understanding and living with the risks and safety plans

Abusive relationships and grooming
Abusive relationships and grooming

Internet and E-safety
Internet and E-safety

Consent and the law
Consent and the law

To find out more about the Phoenix Project, download one of our leaflets:

Download Phoenix leaflet for young people

Download Phoenix leaflet for professionals

If you know someone who is affected by or at risk of CSE, please contact us at phoenixproject@spurgeons.org or call 0121 638 0876. We accept referrals from organisations and individuals.

What people say about the Phoenix Project

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“[Phoenix] has provided an invaluable service…there would be an enormous gap without the Project.”

– Birmingham Safeguarding Family Support Team

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"[The family support was] very useful…things was explained in detail and made me feel a lot better.”

- Parent

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"[Phoenix Project worker] showed me about relationships and patterns of behaviour and victimisation - it was like a profile of my situation. They’re helping me.”

– Young person

Case Studies

Preventing sexual exploitation

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As a 15-year-old girl with autism, Holly didn’t understand the dangers presented by social media. Holly had trouble coping with her parents’ separation and began exploring online relationships with older men. She didn’t understand that visiting internet chatrooms was exposing her to the serious risks of grooming and exploitation. Thanks to Spurgeons’ Phoenix Project, Holly and her mum were able to get the help they needed and Holly’s vulnerability and online risks have significantly reduced.

Protecting an internet whizz

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When Sarah realised that her son Jake was an internet whizz, she decided it was time to step up her skills. Jake, who is on the autistic spectrum, has a passion for spending large amounts of time online. Sarah was aware that there were dangers online and that she didn’t have the knowledge to protect her son. She and Jake met with the team at Phoenix and we worked with them both to create an action plan.

Testimonial

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Faith goes up the stairs that love has built and looks out the windows which hope has opened.”

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Hopeful

We believe in the value and potential of every child.

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Inclusive

We recognise every person as a unique individual, deserving of respect.

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Compassionate

We won’t walk away, even when that means making tough choices.