A NEW educational resource aimed at safeguarding and educating young people to stay safe and prevent child sex exploitation has been launched by Education Minister Huw Lewis. ‘Hidden’, developed by the Welsh Government and Barnardos Cymru includes lesson plans and extension activities for use within Personal and Social Education (PSE) and Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) lessons in secondary schools. It contains advice for teachers on creating a safe learning environment and guidance for all staff working with children and young people to understand child protection procedures and policies, and to aid early identification of sexual exploitation. Also included are posters with a list of ‘Help’ numbers for young people and two videos, ‘Hidden’ and ‘What’s Happening Frankie?’, an animation suitable for 14–18 year olds.
‘What’s Happening Frankie?’ was written by a group of young people from the South Wales Valleys who were identified as being at risk of sexual exploitation and is based on the true story of a young person who is groomed by a friend of the family. The young people developed ‘What’s Happening Frankie?’ with the aim of highlighting the risks associated with child sexual exploitation and reducing the likelihood of other young people being sexually exploited. It is hoped that after watching the videos young people will recognise the different stages of the grooming process and engage in discussions that will enable them to better understand the impact sexual exploitation has upon young people and explore ways of keeping safe. The ‘Hidden’ educational resource is designed to supplement and strengthen the support provided to education services in the Welsh Government’s existing statutory safeguarding guidance “Keeping learners safe.” The Minister launched ‘Hidden’ yesterday at a conference in Cardiff; ‘Keeping Learners Safe – Everybody’s Business’.
Addressing the conference the Minister said: “I am delighted to launch this education resource that we have developed in partnership with Barnardo’s Cymru. “There is a strong appetite for strengthening the education response to safeguarding and child protection arrangements, which I greatly welcome. This is a key priority which underpins the delivery of all education provision in Wales. “This education resource will support practitioners and help strengthen the response of education services in this very challenging area of safeguarding. “It will also support education practitioners in engaging in difficult discussions with children and young people about the dangers of sexual exploitation, and risky behaviours that might put them in harm’s way.” Training will be available to practitioners early in the New Year to ensure they are supported in implementing the resource in schools and colleges. The resource will be produced in digital format and will be accessible through the all-Wales digital learning platform Hwb. The videos and the facilitator’s guide are free resources that will be made available on both Barnardo’s and the Welsh Government website.
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