Future Voices: Interview with the Rose Project - which supports young people at risk of exploitation

Future Voices. Pictured: ROSE Project Team. Picture: Supplied

Future Voices. Pictured: ROSE Project Team. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Supplied

I caught up with Adele Sutton who works for the Magdalene Group, which runs the ROSE Project (Reaching Out on Sexual Exploitation). The project supports young people who are at risk of, or who are being, exploited.

What type of support does the ROSE project offer?

We offer what we call a befriending service to young people. When we get a referral about a young person, we would get in touch with their parent or carer and explain what we do. The service is voluntary, but if the young person wants to work with us then we will set-up an initial meeting with their parent or carer if they would like.

After the first meeting, we work on a 1:1 basis with the young person. We tend to meet for a drink in a café and we'll come up with an action plan based on what they feel they want and need.

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At this point we make it clear that we can't support them forever, but that we will be there for them for as long as they need us.

We also support young people who run away from home. When we get a referral about a young person who has run away more than once, we will contact them and offer them a return to home interview.

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This is again voluntary, but if the young person wants to, we will go and talk to them about why they ran away and what happened whilst they were away. We will try and identify what support they need and if we have any concerns about exploitation, we will offer them our befriending service.

Who should a young person speak to if they are worried?

We know that there are three main groups that are more likely to be at risk of being exploited:

1. Young people who have run away from home/care.

2. Young people who are in care or are a care leaver.

3. Young people who are not in education, employment or training. However, all young people are potentially at risk and should be aware of the risks. My advice to young people is that if they are worried about anything, then they should talk to an adult that they trust, whether that is your parent, carer, teacher or someone else. Your gut instinct is the most powerful tool you've got and you're never going to get into trouble for speaking up about something you're worried about.

How can people contact you for support?

We offer a free, confidential helpline that any young person can call us on – the number is 0808 800 1037.

Young people can also chat with us live on our website, which many do as they feel more comfortable doing this than talking on the phone: http://magdalenegroup.org/rose-project/.

We know that a lot of exploitation starts online and so we have developed live chat so that we have more of an online presence.

Alex Animba, 16, Wymondham College.

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