Our work is all about helping faith communities to be more resilient against child sexual exploitation and different forms of harm. This means we work in and with faith communities, as well as practitioners who engage with them from different sectors.
We aim to raise awareness and help people be equipped to better prevent, recognise and respond to child sexual exploitation. Through interfaith events we work to build cohesion between faith and non-faith communities by developing meaningful partnerships and friendships. We all have common concerns and a cause for action in safeguarding children and young people.
News and stories of child sexual exploitation are often falsely racialised, and we work to address how Muslims and Christians are targeted in particular. Research tells us that victims, survivors and perpetrators of abuse are found in many different contexts, but the media coverage has often ignored those who fall outside of the narratives, choosing instead to fuel a narrow stereotype. We believe failing to challenge this would be a disservice to the survivors of child sexual exploitation and risks allowing fear to divide and damage our communities.
As faith communities, we have a critical role in protecting children and young people, and we’re committed to building resilience within our organisations and our communities by working with families and servies that engage with them.
Pastor at Hope Church Luton, and Executive for Churches Together in Luton
Tony is an ordained, long standing church leader in Luton and serves on the executive of Churches Together in Luton. Tony leads Hope Church Luton, which is heavily involved in working in the local community, and brings together people from many different nations.
Chair of Lantern
Rehana is a scholar with the Centre of Expertise for Child Sexual Abuse, is involved in various local initiatives and teaches at a Mosque. Rehana is Chair of Governors at Challney High School for Girls and consults with local authority on several issues including Islamophobia.
Director of St Mary’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation
Representative of Luton Council of Mosques
Director at Youthscape Centre for Research
Lucie Shuker is Director of Research at Youthscape, leading a range of research projects exploring youth work and young people’s lives. She is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Bedfordshire where she previously conducted research around child sexual exploitation, and a Visiting Research Fellow at London School of Theology.
Chair of Discover Islam
Sufian is a talented teacher with extensive management experience. He is a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching and is the Director of Teaching School for Chiltern Learning Trust. He holds various posts within the voluntary sector in Luton, these include Trustee roles in Discover Islam Luton, Luton Town Football Club Community Trust, Culture Trust, Luton Foodbank and Working Options.
CEO of Azalea
Ruth Robb is CEO of Azalea and leads and writes global consultations on community solutions around commercial sexual exploitation. Ruth is especially inspired by the emergence of new projects and brings over 30 years of professional experience.
Manager of Inspire FM
Representative of Luton Sunni Council of Mosques
Melissa is driven by work that supports people facing hardship and faith-based projects, and works with several local charities in varied capacities.
Robert Lightowler is the project coordinator for FACES. He has retired from teaching and pastoring a church and devotes time to promoting abuse prevention and survivor support. He also works alongside prisoners.