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Child Sexual Exploitation - Phoenix Project

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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

Spurgeons has run the Phoenix Project across Birmingham since 2013, with funding from Comic Relief, the Big Lottery and Esme Fairbairn Foundation.

Phoenix 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. Phoenix takes a holistic approach to supporting families and therefore we also provide a package of support for parents/carers to enable them to understand childhood sexual exploitation and safeguard their child/young person.

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, amongst other things, money, drugs/alcohol, gifts, affection or status. 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:

- Going missing
- Unexplained gifts
- Gang association
- Change in mood
- Low mood/depression
- Drug and alcohol misuse
- Becomes secretive
- Missing school
- Inappropriate sexualised behaviour
- Sexual health issues
- Vulnerability through the internet/social networking sites

How can Phoenix Project help?

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

- Healthy and unhealthy relationships
- Risk management
- Grooming in relationships
- Consent and the law
- E-safety

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

Advice and support for parents - We provide targeted work with parents/carers including:

- CSE awareness training
- understanding and living with risk and safety plans
- Abusive relationships and grooming
- Internet and e-safety
- Consent and the law

To make a referral email us

Holly is one child who has been helped by the Phoenix Project.


People who have been supported by the service said

“[Phoenix] has provided an invaluable service…there would be an enormous gap without the Project.” – Birmingham Safeguarding Family Support Team

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

"[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



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