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Our brand new project SAFE Kent is getting ready to go live!

March 20th, 2017

Through specialist interventions SAFE Kent aims to address the local need to ensure legacy UASC (to include care leavers up to the age of 20) are supported to address any gaps in understanding around citizenship, respect for women, acceptable behaviour and attitude.  The project aims to work with 60 UASC a year, for the next three years.

  • 1-1 specialist intervention and mentoring – enabling young people to talk freely to a ‘professional friend’ in a safe and non-judgemental environment.
  • Building understanding of positive behaviours and/or addressing cultural issues before they become barriers or criminalized behaviour (e.g. racism, perpetrators of CSE)
  • Developing resilience in UASC to say no to external influences and play an active role in keeping themselves safe.
  • Building awareness- educate local professionals  involved in the care and wellbeing of UASC including teachers, doctors, youth workers, solicitors etc, raising awareness in the dangers of sexual, economic and radicalisation exploitation & warning signs.

One of the key outcomes of the project is that UASC have a good understanding of healthy relationships and report an improvement in understanding of how to live appropriately in the UK thus reducing risk of committing crime/anti-social behaviour in the future.

The Government has defined extremism in the Prevent strategy as: “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. They also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces”.

SAFE is funded by Esmée Fairbairn and is delivered by Asphaleia in consultation with Kent County Council.

Amanda Geary is our full time Specialist interventionist, based at our Kent offices.

Amanda is looking forward to starting delivery on the project this month!

If you would like any more information, or would like to discuss any concerns, please contact us at head office : 01903522966 or or

Child Sexual Exploitation and Ethnicity and religion!

March 20th, 2017

There is a high percentage of coverage of White British young people in the media to being victims of Child Sexual Exploitation. However, research has shown that that young people from all ethnicity and religious backgrounds and communities are vulnerable and victims of Child Sexual Exploitation.

Reports by Barnardo’s have found that it can be harder to seek help for abuse in some communities due to cultural norms, religious belief or language barriers. There have been case studies where in particular boys have been made vulnerable to sexual exploitation because they were gay and their community does not condone homosexuality.

Cultural and religious views and practices can often prevent victims from speaking out due to fear of retribution or rejection from families or communities. With individuals not fully understanding and raising awareness of the fact that victims can be found anywhere, children and young people are not being identified or communities made aware of sexual exploitation.

Victims of sexual exploitation are individuals, each with their own characteristics and qualities that make them unique. While this is a challenge for professionals who try to identify young people at risk and provide them with support, it is vital that it is recognised. Any child can become a victim of sexual exploitation, regardless of their background or upbringing.

No child or young person should ever be blamed for their own abuse, yet they must be given the education and skills to be able to keep themselves safe and feel confident in making decisions.

For more information or support please call 01895 272478/01903 522966

CSE and Disability

March 20th, 2017

Children with physical and learning disabilities are at a greater risk to the dangers of CSE- three to four times greater in some cases.

So why the increased risk?

Key findings from the ‘Unprotected, Overprotected Report’ (2015) state:

  • Young people with learning disabilities are vulnerable to CSE due to factors that include overprotection, social isolation and society refusing to view them as sexual beings. As a result they might not have had the same sex education as other children.
  • Lack of awareness of the sexual exploitation of young people with learning disabilities among professionals also contributes to their vulnerability.
  • There are gaps in national policy and a lack of implementation of current guidance.
  • Young people with learning disabilities are often not specifically considered in local multi-agency arrangements for CSE, which has implications for whether those experiencing or at risk of CSE are identified or receive support.
  • Young people with learning disabilities can face a number of challenges to disclosing CSE, including the negative responses of professionals.
  • Children and young people with a disability also tend to be isolated with fewer friends which could in turn lead to more time spent on the internet which again increases their vulnerability when online.

Research highlights the need for greater awareness and further training for professionals and for services to work together to prevent, identify and provide support for children with physical and learning disabilities.

We all have a responsibility to keep children and young people safe- remember…. If you see something, say something!

For more information about asphaleia action, please call us on 01903 823 546

Boys, Young Men and CSE

March 20th, 2017

It’s not just girls who are sexually exploited, it’s boys too.

The stereotypical belief that boys and young men are less vulnerable than girls to CSE is incorrect and recent figures of reported cases have shown up to a third of CSE victims are male.

Why is male sexual exploitation more likely to be overlooked?

  • There is some evidence that young men who are being sexually exploited are more likely to be criminalised for their behaviour and viewed as a perpetrator.
  • Behaviours that may be likely to be recognised as evidence of risk for a girl or young women may be interpreted as a young man experimenting with their sexuality or demonstrating sexually harmful behaviours to others.
  • In addition boys and young men may be less likely to, or find it more difficult to, disclose than young women. Without a disclosure it may be difficult for professionals to justify the time commitment to support a young man at risk of, or suspected of being sexually exploited.

The same questions should be asked of boys and young men as would be asked of girls and young women.  Professionals need to see beyond the outwardly displayed behaviour of young men and consider the reasons behind it.  Every young person, be they male or female, are entitled to the same protection from CSE.

For more information about asphaleia action, please call us on 01903 823 546

Support with progression in Uxbridge

March 14th, 2017

Zoë, our specialist support worker in Uxbridge is working with young people aged 16 – 24 in Hillingdon Borough who are NEET (not in employment, education or training) to support them into employment, apprenticeships & traineeships.

Do you have young people who need this support?

Zoë is working with local providers and employers to ensure young people get a chance to progress successfully.

Please contact us to find out more and to make a referral on 01895 272478 or email Zoe Dowsett

Body Language

March 14th, 2017

During Young People’s Week at asphaleia, young people took part in a body language workshop.

At the workshop the young people talked about British body language and how certain gestures mean different things in Britain than they do elsewhere around the world.  They also learnt about how important body language is when you go for an interview, whether it’s for a college place, apprenticeship or for a full time job.

At the end of the workshop the young people said when they go for an interview they would remember to:

  • Smile
  • Use eye contact
  • Be honest
  • Sit upright and don’t slouch


For more information about asphaleia, please call us on 01903 522 966

Child Sexual Exploitation

March 14th, 2017

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a form of sexual abuse that involves the manipulation and/or coercion of young people under the age of 18 into sexual activity.

‘Evidence suggests that 2,409 children across England were sexually exploited in the 14 months between August 2010 and October 2011. And considered that a further 16,500 children from across England were at high risk of child sexual exploitation during the 12 months from April 2010 to March 2011 because they displayed three of more of the behavioural signs indicating they were so. (Department for Education; Office of the Children’s Commissioner inquiry, NWG)’

Know the signs

Young people who are being sexually exploited may:

  • go missing from home, care or education.
  • be involved in abusive relationships, intimidated and fearful of certain people or situations
  • hang out with groups of older people, or antisocial groups, or with other vulnerable peers
  • associate with other young people involved in sexual exploitation
  • get involved in gangs, gang fights, gang membership
  • have older boyfriends or girlfriends
  • spend time at places of concern, such as hotels or known brothels
  • not know where they are, because they have been moved around the country
  • be involved in petty crime such as shoplifting
  • have unexplained physical injuries
  • have a changed physical appearance, for example lost weight (NSPCC, 2017)
  • More than one in three children (34%) who experienced contact sexual abuse by an adult did not tell anyone else about it. (NSPCC, 2014)
  • Four out of five children (82.7%) who experienced contact sexual abuse from a peer did not tell anyone else about it. (NSPCC, 2014)

YOU can help give victims a voice

  • Keep on an eye on the asphaleia blog, instagram and facebook accounts this for more information.
  • Show your support on social media by using #helpinghands #cseday2017
  • For further guidance and support please contact the SAFE project (based in London, W.Sussex and Kent)

CSE Awareness Week

March 14th, 2017

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) awareness day falls on Saturday the 18th of March – to show our support to the cause asphaleia will be raising awareness for the whole week starting on the 13th. The National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day aims to highlight the issues surrounding CSE; encouraging everyone to think, spot and speak out against abuse.

Over the week staff and young people here at asphaleia will be taking part by writing personal pledges on their hands to show our support for the NWG Helping Hands campaign and ultimately raising awareness of CSE. Examples of personal pledges could be ‘I will always commit my support to victims of CSE’ or ‘I will speak out against CSE’ or even simply ‘Stop CSE’.

The action teams across locations will also be delivering workshops to our young people to discuss CSE and healthy relationships in an open and safe environment as well as posting daily blogs on different CSE topics.

Keep your eyes peeled on the blog and our social media accounts for further updates and don’t forget your personal pledge!


Kabor celebrate International Womens Day

March 14th, 2017

The Kabor Project is now supporting 120 women and their children to learn Catering, Hair Dressing, Tailoring and Handicraft.

Having managed to establish some local funding, Kabor has been able to provide uniform and training materials for 65 beneficiaries. The remaining 55 women are supported by asphaleia action UK.

Last year asphaleia action purchased a Cassava grating machine for Kabor and this continues to be used to feed the children of the trainees at the Day Care Centre.

Former learner gives motivational talk

March 14th, 2017

On the week commencing 17th February, asphaleia celebrated Young Peoples Week and Jamie, a former learner, came in to talk to a group of current learners.

The group learnt how Jamie had applied and achieved an apprenticeship with asphaleia. He explained that “I learnt many new skills as an apprentice and was very happy to gain full time employment with asphaleia”

Since this time Jamie has been working at Café Nero where he enjoys interacting with the public.

The group were grateful for Jamie’s time and encouragement to keep going.

For more information about asphaleia training, please call us on 01903 823 546