PhotoVoice launches new resource to tackle child sexual exploitation

After two years of development, PhotoVoice has launched a new resource to help provide support for young people affected by, or at risk of sexual exploitation in the UK.

Developed through direct engagement with young people, and drawing upon up-to-date policy from government recommendations for the sector, the resource aims to address child sexual exploitation (CSE) through informing and educating young people, and provides new tools and activities for staff working with them.

PhotoVoice worked in partnership with the National Working Group to offer young people affected by sexual exploitation a creative space to reflect on and make sense of their experiences for future safeguarding, leading to this new toolkit for support workers and sector professionals across the country. Through PhotoVoice’s innovative participatory photography and digital storytelling workshops, the young people created informative digital stories, using their own photography and written narratives. As part of the project, many of the young participants achieved a BTEC qualification in Supporting Employability and Personal Effectiveness (SEPE). Subsequent training with sector professionals has already highlighted the valuable contribution this new resource will make:

“A versatile, incredibly useful resource for professionals. It guides the trainer, yet gives them freedom to explore relevant issues dependent on the group type.” – VAWG Coordinator, London

“The resource opens avenues to explore the Child’s voice, journey and wishes and feelings in a safe constructive manner.” – CSE Nurse, NHS Birmingham

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The resource is free for practitioners. For details on how to obtain a copy, visit the Having Our Say microsite

More Information about the Resource 

The resource pack includes seventeen colour coded activity cards. These cards provide instructions for activities that will encourage group and 1:1 discussion and reflection on gender, relationships, vulnerabilities, emotions and abuse. The activities have been created in response to the work made by the young people during the workshops, ensuring that input from the participants directly supports other young people across the UK to understand the issues and context of sexual exploitation, furthering their capacity to safeguard themselves.

Each activity will address one of six key themes drawn from the 2009 UK government framework ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children‘. The resource is designed to be easy to use and uses a colour coding system so that it is clear which key themes are being addressed in each activity.

Key themes include: 

Emotional Literacy and Creative Practice 

These activities are designed to support professionals to use creative practice to support young people to explore their experiences and perspectives on exploitation.

Communication and Peer Support

This section supports young people to communicate their experiences, and wider awareness raising work for all young people to help them to develop the knowledge and skills they will need to make healthy choices, and support their peers to do the same.

Challenging Stigma

Activities that aim to take a child-centered approach towards challenging societal stigmas around sexual exploitation, and provide ideas about how the work can be used as part of awareness-building campaigns and projects.

Online relationships

Online relationships can make young people more vulnerable to abuse, particularly those whose parents or carers have limited access to the internet. These activities are designed to support and address the specifics of online abuse.

Early Warning Signs – Identifying Risky Behaviours and Specific Vulnerabilities 

This section is designed to equip young people with the skills to identify unhealthy relationships and power dynamics, alongside understanding their own rights. These activities explore the specific vulnerabilities relating to gender, race and disability.

Building Resilience and Future Safeguarding 

These activities are designed to support measures that reduce the risk of young people becoming victims of sexual exploitation. They also provide ideas for activities which support participants to identify their own strengths, hence lowering their dependence on service provision.

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The pack also includes Identifying Vulnerabilities cards. These activity cards encourage participants to consider and discuss together some of the important topics brought up by the young people in their digital stories including, neglect, mental health and abuse. There are great benefits to group work, and bringing young people affected by CSE together can help them identify that they are not alone and can help form supportive relationships.


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We are providing training for service providers and professionals in using the newly-designed resource to deliver services and workshops to others.

The training includes practical activities, support for running group sessions with young people and tips for using creativity within your practice. It is open to all practitioners of all experiences. Find out more about the training here.


Special Thanks

PhotoVoice is extremely grateful to the following for supporting the project and this resource:

  • Evan Cornish Foundation
  • Persula Foundation
  • Mercers’ Company
  • Eleanor Rathbone Charitable Trust
  • Austin & Hope Pilkington Trust
  • Positive View