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Education

Schools have major role to prevent exploitation

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The ‘Key messages from research on child sexual exploitation: Professionals in school settings’ paper aims to increase school professionals’ confidence to take appropriate action based on the best current research evidence. The paper looks at understanding child sexual abuse and offers best practice in supporting young people affected.

The Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse is also embarking on a long-term project to look at the scale and nature of child sexual exploitation in England and Wales. It has produced an initial scoping document that assesses the current knowledge of CSE and outlines the breadth of the work it hopes to undertake.

The Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse is funded by the Home Office, led by Barnardo’s, and works closely with key partners from academic institutions, local authorities, health, education, police, and the voluntary sector. It works on identifying, generating and sharing high-quality evidence of what works to prevent and tackle Child Sexual Abuse (including Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), and to inform both policy and practice .

WHAT IS CSE?

‘ Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator ‘ . (New England definition 2017).

There is no one way that CSE is perpetrated. Grooming is common in some forms of CSE, but it is not always present. Online and offline exploitation can overlap. That children and young people may appear to co-operate cannot be taken as consent: they are legally minors and subject to many forms of coercion and control. These abuses of power are similar to those which are recognised in domestic violence and they may lead to children and young people being unable to recognise what is happening to them as abuse.

Whilst all of the research evidence to date shows that girls and young women are the majority of victims, boys and young men are also exploited. The average age at which concerns are first identified is at 12 to 15 years, although recent studies show increasing rates of referrals for 8 to 11 – year – olds, particularly in relation to online exploitation. Less is known about the exploitation of those from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT ) communities.

There is no ‘typical’ victim. That said, some young people may be more vulnerable than others, and a range of indicators have been highlighted to which professionals should be alert.

These include: prior abuse in the family; deprivation; homelessness; misuse of substances; disability; being in care; running away/going missing; gang-association. It is not known whether these also apply to young people where exploitation begins or wholly occurs online, although some factors appear to be involved in both contexts. It is important to remember that indicators are not evidence that sexual exploitation has taken place. All they suggest is that practitioners need to use their professional curiosity and judgement to explore what is going on with each young person.

Child sexual exploitation can happen to young people from all backgrounds. Whilst young women are the majority of victims, boys and young men are also exploited.

A ‘ WHOLE SCHOOL ’ APPROACH

Creating an educational environment in which there is a ‘whole-school’ approach to addressing gender inequality, sexual consent, and relationships built on respect is crucial in responding to violence and abuse, including CSE. The curriculum, school policies, pastoral support and school ethos all contribute to environments that enable or challenge exploitative practices and the attitudes that condone them.

PREVENTING CSE THROUGH THE CURRICULUM

Work to prevent CSE should be taking place in independent and maintained schools, as well as state-funded schools, free schools and academies (where appropriate) and alternative educational settings, including Pupil Referral Units, Short Stay Schools, colleges and post- 16 training, including from independent providers.

Schools are ideally placed to deliver information to students about CSE and a number of resources exist for them to use in doing so. It is important that this work also challenges attitudes and helps students to develop emotional and social skills. Opportunities to learn about sexual exploitation should be available in age appropriate forms in both primary and secondary schools. Open conversations inside and outside the classroom can help children recognise potentially abusive behaviours, identify trusted adults who they can talk to and offer information about support services.

Some young people may be more vulnerable – those who have experienced prior abuse, are homeless, are misusing alcohol and drugs, have a disability, are in care, are out of education, have run away/ gone missing from home or care, or are gang-associated.

All schools (including alternative educational settings such as Pupil Referral Units and Short Stay Schools, colleges and post-16 training) should assume that CSE is an issue that needs to be addressed.

An educational environment where there is a ‘whole-school’ approach to addressing gender inequality, sexual consent, and relationships built on respect should be developed.

All schools are ideally placed to deliver information to students about CSE through preventative education that delivers knowledge and challenges attitudes.

Staff within the school community should be trained to spot potential ‘warning signs’ of CSE and to feel confident to begin conversations based on their concerns.

Multi-agency links mean that schools can be part of developing a protective community network which holds perpetrators to account.

A SAFE AND SECURE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

A prevention curriculum should be combined with a safe and secure school environment which promotes positive and respectful relationships between peers, between students and staff, and includes wider parent/carer engagement.

Whilst the school environment can represent a positive space for young people, it may also be a context within which they experience sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation can also involve peers in complex ways, as facilitators, abusers or bystanders. Grooming and sexual exploitation may take place during the school day, including by gang-associated peers. Some students may introduce other young people to exploiters. Social media may facilitate the spreading of gossip and images around peer groups so that the impact of CSE taking place outside of school may ‘migrate’ back into it.

Every school community should assume that CSE is an issue. In addition to educating young people about CSE, schools need to identify and support young people who are affected. Links should be made with relevant school policies, including those on bullying, sexual violence and harassment and equalities. Young people may not think of themselves as victims and may believe that they are in love. A proactive approach should therefore be taken to identifying victims, distinguishing between disruptive behaviour and early warning signs of exploitation.

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Education

Lenin on sale again

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Speaking on Revolutionary Art: Rob Phillips

THE UNIVERSITY OF WALES TRINITY SAINT DAVID was pleased to welcome Rob Phillips from The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth to open an exhibition that will kick start a month long commemoration of the centenary of the Russian Revolution.

The programme of events is called ‘Lenin’s On Sale Again: 100 Years of the Russian Revolution’, and will be held at the university’s Lampeter campus from the start of the new term in September and throughout October. It will include a series of exhibitions, workshops and lectures that examine the effects of the Russian Revolution. The commemoration is the one of a series of cultural events taking place across Wales that mark the centenary.

The university’s Lampeter library is hosting two exhibitions which will be open to the public until 27th October. ‘The Revolutionary Art of Dmitry Moor’ will feature the work of the revolutionary artist who produced Soviet propaganda posters from 1918 until the Second World War. The university has also collaborated with The National Library of Wales and the Cymru1914 project to produce ‘News from Russia 1917,’ an exhibition of front pages from Swansea’s ‘Cambria Daily Leader’ showing how news from Russia was reported in west Wales and how it sat alongside war reporting and contemporary local events.

Dr Alex Scott, Lecturer in Modern History, said: “The Russian Revolution is one of the most important events in modern history. The revolution profoundly shaped the remainder of the twentieth century, establishing the geopolitical tensions between ‘East and West’ which resulted in the Cold War. But its importance far transcends politics and diplomacy. The aim of Lenin’s On Sale Again is to explore the widespread influence that the Russian Revolution had across the globe, and in a variety of fields. The programme of events will discuss different responses to the revolution from West Wales to China and beyond, while also examining its impact on art, cinema and literature – as well as academic disciplines such as Classics. The overarching goal is to demonstrate that the revolution was not just ten days that shook the world in 1917; but rather that it created far-reaching ramifications which can still be felt today – sometimes in quite unexpected ways.”

Rob Phillips, Welsh Political Archive at The National Library of Wales said: “We’re delighted to have been able to contribute to this exhibition; exhibitions like this are yet another way of opening up our collections to as wide an audience as possible. Copies of the Cambria Daily Leader show how the dramatic events in Russia, which had an enormous effect in Wales, were first reported here. The sense of confusion and concern over the implications of the news is clear and with good reason; the records of individuals and organisations held at the National Library show how that news affected political discourse for decades.”

The programme of events has been organised by Andy Bevan, Lecturer in International Development, and Dr Alex Scott, Lecturer in Modern History. Further details are available on the university’s website.

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Education

Wales leads the way at WorldSkills UK

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Julie James AM: Wales the top region for entries

THE BEST of Wales’ vocational skills and talent will be taking to a national stage next month after Wales secured the highest number of entrants of all UK regions to the WorldSkills UK finals.

The WorldSkills UK finals will take place at Birmingham’s NEC between 16 and 18 November as part of the NEC’s annual Skills Show, the largest skills and careers event in the UK.

The competition is used to benchmark excellence across a range of vocational skills areas. It is also used as part of the selection process for WorldSkills, a global competition held every two years where the UK regions compete as one team. These finals are part of the selection process for WorldSkills 2019, which is being held in Kazan.

A total of 462 competitors are taking part in the WorldSkills UK finals, which consists of up to 60 national competitions where entrants battle it out for Gold, Silver and Bronze award recognition. Of that figure, 74 competitors are Welsh, which is 16% of the UK total and by far the highest regional representation.

In addition to the 74 Welsh finalists taking part in the national competitions, a further nineteen entrants will be representing Wales at the Skills Show in other competitions, bringing Wales’ overall number of entrants to this year’s Skills Show to 93.

The additional competitors are the ‘Kazan cohort’; nine talented students who have already met the qualifying criteria for Kazan 2019 so will now be competing to for a place on WorldSkills’ Team UK. Ten entrants are also taking part in the ‘Inclusive Skills’ competitions, which have been specifically designed for those with disabilities.

Welcoming the news, Skills and Science Minster Julie James said: “That Wales has been recognised as the top region for entries in the whole of the UK is a reflection of our skills excellence and the huge collaborative effort from partners that we have here in Wales.

“Through Skills Competitions we are creating a highly skilled nation that will support our economy, safeguard our industries and improve the prospects of Wales.

“I wish everyone taking part in next month’s competitions the very best of luck and would like to thank those who have supported them on their journey for all their hard work and dedication to help make this happen.”

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Education

University hosts second David Trotter memorial lecture

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Philip Durkin: Delivering a lecture at Aberystwyth University

​THE DEPUTY Chief Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary will deliver the second David Trotter Memorial Lecture at Aberystwyth University ​next Friday ​(Oct ​20​).

Dr Philip Durkin will lecture on ‘Minding the gap: what we can learn from gaps in the surviving records for Middle English and Anglo-Norman’.

Hosted by the Department of Modern Languages, the lecture takes place at the Seddon Room in the Old College and starts at 6pm, with a drinks reception from 5.15pm. All are welcome to attend.

Amongst his many areas of expertise, Dr Durkin lists etymology, history of the English language – especially lexis, loanwords in English, language contact, medieval multilingualism, historical lexicography, and approaches to lexicography.

His 2014 volume Borrowed Words: A History of Loanwords in English, published by Oxford University Press, traces the history of loanwords in English from the earliest times to the present day.

Professor Wini Davies, Head of the Department of Modern Languages, said: “We are delighted to be able to welcome Dr Philip Durkin to give the second David Trotter Memorial Lecture and to hear him speak on a subject that was very important to David himself. David was an eminent lexicographer and chief editor of the Anglo-Norman Dictionary (AND), based at Aberystwyth, until his death in 2015.

“The AND, which recently received another tranche of funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council under the leadership of Dr Geert De Wilde and Dr Heather Pagan, makes an important contribution to the history of English as well as the history of French and has provided much data for the Oxford English Dictionary. It is therefore entirely fitting that the lecture by Dr Durkin will discuss links between these two varieties.”

Professor David Trotter was a leading international authority on French language and lexicography and head of the Department of Modern Languages at Aberystwyth University.

A former president of the Société de Linguistique Romane (2013-15) and a corresponding member of the Paris-based Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Professor Trotter was a recipient of the Prix Honoré Chavée and a fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.

He was a graduate of Queen’s College Oxford and was appointed chair of French at Aberystwyth in 1993.

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