Chief Executive of Rush House joins team to help people affected by child sexual exploitation

Published Thursday, 22nd January 2015
Jo Smith, new co-ordinator
Jo Smith

A new Child Sexual Exploitation Support Service Co-ordinator has been appointed to ensure people affected by child sexual exploitation get the right help and support.

Jo Smith, Chief Executive of Rush House, has been seconded to the new role and will be responsible for the co-ordination of agencies involved in supporting individuals and families wishing to access services.

Jo has many years of experience in both adult and young people’s support services, including within the voluntary and community sector. She has a track record of delivering services which are shaped by the voice and influence of its users.

Jo will work closely with the NSPCC which provides Rotherham’s Sexual Exploitation Helpline which was specifically set up in December to help people who are affected by child sexual exploitation.

Jo said: “Where a person has suffered abuse they can get help in a number of ways. For example, they may choose to phone the helpline initially who would provide a listening ear and discuss their worries or concerns. After talking things through, if the individual felt they may like further support they would be referred to me and I will work closely with them to identify their needs, talk through the range of options open to them, identify what support they may require and organise the first contact with the support service for them.  

“Alternatively, they may wish to access the services directly. We are aiming to meet their specific needs and recognise that we cannot take a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

“Each person affected by child sexual exploitation has their own set of experiences and those experiences have affected them in a unique way. This means that they may need or choose different types of support at different times in their lives. Sometimes, this may be in the form of counselling or other therapy, whilst at other times, or for other people, it may mean more practical or family support.”

“I would also like to hear from people who have been affected by child sexual exploitation to ensure that we can shape future services to meet their needs.”

The Council’s Deputy Leader Councillor Emma Hoddinott said: “We welcome Jo into this vital role. It’s important that victims and survivors get the support that’s right for them and Jo will be a crucial link between all those involved in supporting victims and survivors in making sure services are suitable for their needs.”

If you, or anyone you know, has suffered sexual abuse and would like to speak to someone in confidence, you can phone Rotherham’s Sexual Exploitation Helpline. Jo can also be accessed through the helpline. The confidential helpline and email address is staffed 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week and can be accessed on:

Contact the helpline on 0800 7319256image

Contact the helpline via confidential emailimage

About the Support Organisations:

Rotherham Women’s Counselling Service and Pit Stop for Men (RWCS) offers free professional counselling for men and women who have experienced rape, sexual or domestic abuse at any time in their life. We provide one-to-one trauma counselling for adults (18 years and over) in a warm and welcoming new house, and the choice of group counselling for women, while they await one-to-one sessions, or following the ending of their therapy. The aim is to enable the individual to reach a greater understanding of how past abuse has affected them, so that they are better able to manage their emotions, and make informed choices, whilst minimising the cycle of abuse. The monies provided to the RWCS will fund an increase in specialist counselling for adults who have experienced sexual abuse as a child or teenager.

GROW provides a range of services to young people and families engaged in child sexual exploitation activity through the INVOLVE project. GROW delivers an outreach approach to support children, young people and families. INVOLVE is an integral partner and is co-located with the multi-agency Child Sexual Exploitation Team within the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), offering activities that provides positive outcomes for young people and families.  GROW will provide emotional wellbeing and practical support to individuals but also support to the survivor’s family to enable their recovery, and their ability to be a protective factor for their child/young person. The monies provided to GROW will fund more staff to provide support for the victims and their families

The South Yorkshire Community Foundation launched a Child Sexual Exploitation Fund specifically to enable charities and community and voluntary groups supporting those who have survived Child Sexual Exploitation, those who are at risk and those taking preventative and educational action to stop Child Sexual Exploitation. The Fund will also help meet demand for extra resources to support those affected in Rotherham.

Rotherham Women’s Refuge (RWR) currently provides accommodation and support to victims of domestic violence. The Refuge has now been commissioned to work with young people aged 12-18 years and women aged 18 plus to provide family support and counselling specifically for victims and survivors of sexual exploitation. Capacity will be increased by two support workers, one specifically to support young people and the other for service users aged 18 plus, a family support worker at 15 hours a week and counsellor at four hours week.

Separate to the monies provided to the above services, Youth Start provides mental health and emotional well-being support for young people in Rotherham, offering a seamless, needs led service from late childhood (Year 7) through adolescence and into early adulthood up to age 25. It provides support for young people affected by abuse and those at risk of experiencing abuse.  This includes engagement work to connect young people with post abuse support and other appropriate services; one-to-one counselling; one-to-one Art Therapy; One-to-one Solution Focused support; One-to-one flexible Individual Support, including outreach option. 

The Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) provides a one stop service for males and females of any age who have experienced rape or sexual assault regardless of whether this happened recently or in the past.

  • In Rotherham, The Isis and Artemis, South Yorkshire Sexual Assault and Referral Centre
  • The Rotherham Foundation Trust, Moorgate Road, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, S60 2UD