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
  • They receive unexplained gifts
  • They become associated with a gang
  • Their mood changes or they may have a low mood or depression
  • They misuse drugs and/or alcohol
  • They become secretive
  • They miss school
  • They demonstrate inappropriate sexualised behaviour
  • They have sexual health issues
  • They become vulnerable through internet or social networking sites

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:

  • Healthy and unhealthy relationships
  • Risk management
  • Grooming in relationships
  • Consent and the law
  • How to stay safe online

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 and carers including:

  • CSE awareness training 
  • Understanding and living with the risks and safety plans
  • Abusive relationships and grooming
  • Internet and e-safety
  • 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

“[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

Case Studies

Preventing sexual exploitation
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.
Read More
Protecting an internet whizz
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.
Read More

Contact Details

74 Wellingborough Road
NN10 9TY
01933 412412
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