Staff from a Changing Lives service that has supported victims of grooming and sexual exploitation were invited to deliver training around modern day slavery to Northumbria Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
Changing Lives’ GAP MAP project is based in Newcastle and supports people involved in sex work and survival sex as well as individuals exposed to sexual exploitation. The team were invited to deliver training around trafficking and modern day slavery, highlighting the diversity of our work and sharing the experiences of the people we support.
Service Manager Debra Cowey said:
“Our partnership with Northumbria Police is outstanding, they value our work so much. There is some incredible work being done across the force area which is being recognised by other forces and consultations are ongoing.
To add to this, being invited to speak to the CPS about our work is incredible. Having this platform provides an opportunity to highlight in detail the voices of the people we support. Providing this insight means we can share good practice, what has worked during the process of investigations and what must be improved. These sessions have been well received by both Northumbria Police and the CPS we are delighted to have these opportunities.”
Changing Lives supports people who sell sex across five different localities in the North and Midlands: covering Northumbria, York, Doncaster, Wolverhampton, Walsall, and Merseyside. We provide support and advice to improve the safety and wellbeing of people who are engaged in selling sex as well as advocating and campaigning for individuals with experience of survival sex. We also support people who have been exposed to or are at risk of sexual exploitation.
We engage with people on a one-to-one basis, providing specialist interventions and programmes of care. We support people through our three stage Theory of Change, which was developed in partnership with Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Mental Health Trust, and an understanding of trauma underpins all our work.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prosecutes criminal cases that have been investigated by the police and other investigative organisations in England and Wales. The CPS is independent, making decisions independently of the police and government. Jim Hope, from CPS North East, explained why the sessions were so useful:
“The lawyers found [training from Changing Lives] provided them with a greater insight to not only your role but also the impact criminal proceedings can have on victims of trafficking. The case examples you provided set out the challenge of gaining the trust of victims and it is clear that you and your colleagues are also doing valuable work with local police to identify further potential victims. I am grateful for you giving up your time to assist and I’m sure your continued support for victims will improve our ability to tackle and prosecute this type of offending.”
We welcome opportunities to share our knowledge with fellow professionals and the public, and our training has been greatly received by many various statutory and non-statutory services over many years. For further information about our available training on issues around modern day slavery, human trafficking and sexual exploitation please e-mail email@example.com
Changing Lives support women with experience of sex work, survival sex and/or sexual exploitation across the North of England and the Midlands. Our services are informed by long-standing experience supporting these women, whose experiences are diverse. Read more about our specialist support for women: https://www.changing-lives.org.uk/services/women-children/