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Vulnerable teens helped by safety sessions
A Swansea Council Social Worker has been carrying out ground breaking work to help prevent disabled young people falling prey to sexual exploitation via the internet.
Claire Page, who works with Swansea Council’s Child Disability Team, has been nominated for an award after setting up small internet safety groups to help young vulnerable people with disabilities be aware of the risks of online activity, cyber bullying and to avoid being lured into prostitution and exploitation.
Claire has now received a nomination for an innovative social work practice award with the British Association of Social Workers and has been invited to an awards ceremony in Cardiff on 2nd October.
Claire explained how the safety sessions worked: "During the three sessions we show three DVDs which depict real life events that have occurred with young people, and how easy it is for young vulnerable people to be approached. These men then use flattery and play on their insecurities and this then can lead to them being isolated from family friends and totally reliant on them. The end result is that the young people can be used by the people who have targeted them, to make money for them under the premise that they owe them.”
During the last session Claire uses visual story boards from the Whitney Dean story line from Eastenders. She recognised that most teenage girls would watch this programme and therefore would easily relate to the topic. The three sessions were interactive and used a lot of visual material which made it easier to retain the information and keep their attention.
Claire is now developing a group aimed at boys. She said: "The initial sessions have been for girls but boys are also vulnerable to being sexually exploited and it can be harder for them to seek help.”
Claire has also taken steps to involve the All Wales Core Programme funded by Welsh Assembly Government and the Police on raising awareness of the dangers of using drugs among the groups she works with.
Dave Howes is the Head of Child and Family Services. He said: "I’m delighted that Claire’s work in this area has been recognised and it reflects well both on her and her team.”