Shining the spotlight on sexual exploitation

Published Tuesday, 8th December 2015
Teen girls

Two powerful theatre in education productions on the theme of child sexual exploitation are touring secondary schools across Rotherham.

The ‘Working for Marcus’ and ‘Chelsea’s Choice’ dramas are designed to help young people gain a deeper understanding of the grooming process and the potential risks, in a memorable, informative and thought provoking way.

The productions focus on the subtleties of grooming, online safety, exploitation through social media, gangs and violence against women and girls. There is also a strong emphasis around the sources of help and advice available and staff from Barnado’s will be on hand to assist any young people who have particular concerns.

The dramas are being offered to all Rotherham secondary schools throughout this school year, with each one being suitable for younger or older students. Funding for the project was secured by the Rotherham Healthy Schools Team from Public Health and the Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group.

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

“We hope that by reaching young people in school we have not just a captive audience, but we also give 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.”

‘Chelsea’s Choice’, produced by AlterEgo, is an innovative and powerful production highlighting the very serious and emotional issue of child sexual exploitation. The production shows how young people, boys and girls, are groomed by adults for the purposes of sexual exploitation using various methods, ensnaring young people and eventually taking complete control and dominating their whole lives. 

The ‘Working for Marcus’ production is delivered by Loudmouth Education and Training and focuses on spotting the signs of abuse of power and control in relationships, and highlights where young people can go for support.

Chris Cowan, Director at Loudmouth Education and Training, says the programme is designed as a holistic education package. “This is a powerful tool that not only uses drama to highlight sensitive issues and push the support available but also helps young people to develop their own strategies in how best to avoid such situations as sexual exploitation.

“Through Loudmouth’s series of workshops, lesson plans and performances, students gain an insight into how easy it is to be unknowingly drawn into sexual exploitation, and equips them with the necessary knowledge on how best to avoid it or where they can find support or advice.”

Kay Denton from Rotherham Council’s School Improvement Service said: “Raising young people’s awareness of child sexual exploitation via theatre in education enables young people to identify a range of strategies to maintain their own personal safety including on-line safety and is proven to have increased knowledge of and referrals to support services.

“Both of these drama productions creatively tackles the issue of child sexual exploitation, exploring the different ways that young people can be drawn into abusive relationships and illustrating some of the consequences. These tours will enhance schools’ existing relationships education provision and will also signpost to sources of help, advice and support, available locally and nationally.”

Anyone with concerns about child sexual exploitation can contact the Rotherham sexual exploitation helpline on 0800 7319 256, or email or visit the Rotherham Standing Together website.

Rotherham Standing Togetherimage