We've been talking to local organisations to shine a spotlight on what support services are available to people in Stoke-on-Trent. We caught up with Louise from Catch 22, who support young people in unhealthy relationships, victims of child sexual exploitation and children missing from home, to find out a bit more about what they do.
Who are Catch22?
We support children and young people who have gone missing from home or care, or who are at risk of child sexual exploitation (CSE). We deliver bespoke support and interventions to young people to reduce risk and help you to cope and recover from the impact of CSE.
We listen to a young person’s views and feelings and work flexibly by adapting to the needs of the individual person. We work to build resilience and aspiration, empowering people to take control of their lives and supporting them to stay safe.
We are based across all of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
What is Child Sexual Exploitation?
CSE occurs where anyone under the age of 18 is persuaded, coerced or forced into sexual activity in exchange for, amongst other things, money, drugs/alcohol, gifts, affection or status. CSE does not always involve physical contact and may occur online too. It can happen to anyone regardless of gender identity.
Is it exploitation if my partner threatens to out me if I don’t have sex with them?
In relationships people can put pressure on you. They might also use bribes, threats, humiliation and even violence to make you have sex.
This is exploitation and it’s not ok. It might even be criminal.
You should never feel scared, controlled, or forced into doing things that you don’t want to do.
What should I do if I think my friend is being exploited?
It can be really hard to spot sexual exploitation as people often think that they are in a good relationship, even after things have turned bad.
If you think your friend is being groomed or exploited, talk to an adult who you trust as soon as you can or contact us at Catch22 for advice. There are also a number of websites to explore further information, including: knowaboutcse.co.uk , www.nspcc.org.uk or www.ceop.police.uk
Do you have LGBT+ workers at Catch22?
At Catch 22 we have a diverse range of workers and create an environment which is safe and open to everyone. Catch 22 has LGBT+ friendly policies and training in place and we celebrate individuality and diversity in our workforce.
If I’m in a same-sex relationship and come to Catch22 with any concerns, will you tell my parents?
When we first meet, we talk about consent and confidentiality. As long as there are no safeguarding concerns we keep all information confidential. If there are any concerns, we will only share information which is relevant, which may not include your sexuality. If we do share information we will always try and talk to you about it first.We respect your wishes when offering support, especially if you are not comfortable to talk about your sexuality or gender identity to parents.
How can I get in touch with Catch22?
You can call us on 01782 237106 or ask someone to call on your behalf.
Our main base is the Thomas Boughey Children’s Centre, College Road, Stoke-on-Trent ST4 2DQ but a worker can come out to meet you wherever you are happy to meet.
Remember: if you are a victim of abuse or sexual exploitation it is NEVER your fault.