Image: Helping Each OtherHelping Each Other is a three year project, funded by Comic Relief.

The Association for Real Change will support a small number of young people with learning disabilities, who have experienced sexual exploitation, to develop their skills as trainers.

We will then assist them in developing an awareness raising session that they can go on to deliver to other young people who have a learning disability, and who may be vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

Through other project work, and our contact with other agencies and projects, we have heard significant evidence that victims of sexual abuse and exploitation remain unaware of the abuse long after it is apparent to those around them. We have heard of women being pimped out by their ‘boyfriends’, and raped by those they have a friendship with.

People with learning disabilities have an increased ‘risk factor’ for prostitution – proportionally six times higher than expected (UNICEF, CPS). Sexual exploitation through prostitution affects both sexes, with an exchange of sexual activities for commodities such as money, drink, drugs, protection and accommodation. This prostitution is often perpetrated by an adult through coercion, threats or violence. There is also growing sexual exploitation taking place via the internet and membership of social media sites.

Helping Each Other is based on Peer Training, which we believe offers the greatest impact for people with learning disabilities, and will help to safeguard vulnerable young people by making them aware of a range of aspects of sexual exploitation, including:

  • different forms of sexual exploitation
  • strategies for reducing susceptibility
  • how and where to get help

The main aims of the Helping Each Other Project are:

The project will train 12 young people with learning disabilities to become peer trainers, and will support them to deliver awareness sessions to 200 other young people with learning disabilities. They will also be supported to make presentations at conferences and workshops, and to groups of professionals.

Materials will be developed that can be used independently to raise awareness about sexual exploitation with more young people with learning disabilities.

Latest Project Information:

Project Officer, Rod Landman, is in post in North Devon and has recruit beneficiaries in the South West.

Trainers have now been recruited and 190 counselling sessions delivered to young people. Both the Plymouth and North Devon teams have had several meetings and a combined weekend team event.

Learning materials have been written and 11 workshops have been delivered to date.

Open Days have now taken place in Plymouth and North Devon. See details of the Plymouth open day here.

The Advisory group for this project has been recruited and met several times. Members of the Advisory Group include several organisations including such as FPLD, BILD and Respond as well as ARC Member NCHA.

The project is funded by Comic Relief

For more information, or to express an interest in being a part of the project activity, please contact: