Charity partnership secures Government funding to help victims of grooming and sexual exploitation

1st April 2019

A partnership of six charities has been successful in securing £1 million to help women affected by sexual exploitation and grooming.

Working across the North East and Yorkshire, the partnership of specialist charities making up the STAGE Project is led by Changing Lives.

Together with GROW, A Way Out, Together Women, Basis and WomenCentre Calderdale and Kirklees, they will provide longer-term support for 480 women in eight local areas:

North of Tyne (Operation Sanctuary), South of Tyne (Operation Sanctuary), Huddersfield (Operation Tendersea), Rotherham (Operation Stovewood), Leeds (Operation Applehall), Stockton (Operation Cotton), Sheffield (Operation Linden) and Bradford.

The project is one of 10 chosen by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to receive the £15m proceeds from the 5% tax on tampons and sanitary towels.

The STAGE Project will provide a range of one-to-one support, drop-ins and specialist group work programmes, as well as specialist work in custody. Together these will provide a therapeutic approach to help women recover from the impact of recent and historic grooming and exploitation.

Laura Seebohm, Executive Director, Changing Lives said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded this funding to work with five specialist women’s sector partners in towns and cities where there have been cases of women and girls who are groomed for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

“With the growing number of grooming cases coming to light and high numbers of victims identified, the sexual exploitation of women, too often targeted because of their existing vulnerabilities, is a national issue.

“Intensive, long-term support from specialist organisations has been identified as crucial in keeping women engaged during investigations and prosecutions, and also in the months and years which follow as they then start to make sense of their experiences and rebuild their lives. It has been a huge challenge to do this work until now.

“There is no safeguarding framework at a national level to support women who have been sexually exploited. We will share best practice and guidance on a local and national level as we strive to ensure women are supported to fully recover from these crimes. Our aim is to prevent further cases like this taking place.”