A MESSAGE to young people about the sensitive issue of child sexual exploitation has been delivered by members of a Lowton youth group who turned newsreaders for a special DVD.
Young women from Lowton Girls Group put together the DVD, based on a news report, to urge anyone worried or feeling vulnerable to sexual abuse to ensure they talk to an adult they can trust about it and to be confident they will be believed and helped.
The girls, who have received specialist training from Wigan Council Youth Workers and the national Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, will now see their film, which has won praise from national charity Barnardo’s, used in classrooms across the borough.
The film, called LGG News - Sexual Exploitation and Online Protection, includes discussion from experts and on-the-street interviews all conducted by the Lowton girls, and gives information about organisations youngsters feeling at risk of exploitation can go to and receive counselling and help, including the police, Barnardo’s or the NSPCC.
The DVD also covers the issue of abuse online, with step-by-step guides to reporting and resolving problems on Facebook and other social media sites.
Group member Georgina Hall, 20, said: “The young people we have worked with so far have been shocked at what we are telling them. They did not realise this sort of thing went on, but they said they trusted the information because it came from us, fellow young people.
“It made them think about how they might be at risk, the safety measures they can take and what they can do differently when they are online.”
The girls’ film has also earned plaudits from council staff and leading charities, who emphasised the benefits of young people speaking to their peers about the issue.
Youth worker Deb Hall said: “The girls have a lot more credibility with younger audiences and they have put so much work into this, giving up evenings, weekends and much of their own time.”
Janine Pevitt from Barnardo’s said: “This is ground-breaking work. I would like to take this to my bosses at Barnardo’s and get it rolled out across the country.”
Lowton Girls Group meet every Monday from 6-8.30pm at Lowton Youth Club in Newton Road, and new members are always welcome. To get a copy of the DVD contact Wigan Council’s Voice and Engagement Team on 01942 486237.