Rotherham children have better understanding of CSE after watching ‘Chelsea’s Choice’

Published Monday, 14th March 2016
Pupils at secondary school
Pupils at secondary school

Ninety-nine per cent of school children in Rotherham have a better understanding of CSE after watching 'Chelsea's Choice'.

Rotherham Council has continued its drive to tackle child exploitation by supporting school children to understand what child sexual exploitation is and where they can get support, through the thought provoking theatre production ‘Chelsea’s Choice’.

The ‘Chelsea’s Choice’ production portrays a difficult story around sexual exploitation and as a result has seen 99% of school children have a better understanding of what CSE involves.

Created by AlterEgo, 'Chelsea’s Choice' was a project supported by funding through the Council’s Public Health Healthy Schools Team and the Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group. It visited secondary schools in the borough in January and February 2016.

Chelsea’s Choice focused on the subtleties of grooming, online safety, exploitation through social media, gangs and violence against women and girls, with a view to helping young people gain a deeper understanding of the grooming process and potential risks in a memorable, informative and thought provoking way.

There was also a strong emphasis around the sources of help and advice available and staff from Barnardo’s were on hand to assist young people and their families as required.

As well as 99% of students stating that they have a better understanding of the issues around child sexual exploitation and the different forms it can take, they also reported that they have a better understanding of the grooming process, safe internet use and why they should keep personal information safe online and also what makes a ‘healthy relationship’.

Children also expressed an understanding of how grooming and sexual exploitation can happen to young boys as well as girls and that this can be done by men, women, boys and girls both individually as well as in groups and gangs. Ninety-nine per cent would also recommend watching Chelsea’s Choice to other young people.

Councillor Gordon Watson, Deputy Leader of the Council and Advisory Cabinet Member with responsibility for Children’s and Young People’s Services, said: "This production confronts very difficult and sensitive issues and is just one of the many ways we are tackling the issue of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

"We are pleased to hear that 99% of the young people that watched Chelsea’s Choice have learnt from it significantly and are more aware of areas such as online safety and ways to prevent situations similar to those portrayed in the production.

"Chelsea’s Choice not only reached young people in school in a means to educate, but it also gave young people the opportunity to access support if needed and the knowledge to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation so we can prevent further cases in the future.”

Ian Thomas, Strategic Director, Children and Young People’s Services said: "Raising young people’s awareness of child sexual exploitation via theatre education has enabled young people in Rotherham to identify a range of strategies to maintain their own personal safety both off-line and on-line.

"The feedback we’ve received from the students that saw Chelsea’s Choice is fantastic and is proof that theatre productions can really make a difference in our work to educate, raise awareness and offer to support to young people around child sexual exploitation."

Anyone with concerns about child sexual exploitation can contact:

Rotherham Sexual Exploitation Helpline 0800 7319 256image

Email the NSPCCimage

Visit the Rotherham Standing Together websiteimage