Abuse thrives in silence and denial, so one of our main aims is to take opportunities, as people of faith – to speak out about this injustice. When we speak up, it may make it easier for victims to tell someone what is happening to them, and it challenges the secrecy that abusers rely on.

But it is not just the speaking that matters – it is the speaking up together. As Muslims and Christians, we believe that our faiths are an inspiration for tackling injustices of every kind. Abuse occurs in every community, and we believe our best chance to prevent this is by working together in partnership.

The Faces We Fail to See

Our latest conference in July 2019 saw around 90 people from faith, statutory and voluntary organisations in Luton come together to confront some of the challenges in recognising abuse and providing appropriate responses to victims.

At the heart of the discussions were issues of ethnicity, gender and faith, and how misconceptions around these parts of identity continue to result in safeguarding failures.

We owe a huge thanks to our speakers for sharing their expertise and to those who attended and showed their determination to protect all children and young people, particularly those who came from the faith communities where we focus our work.

We continue the work of tackling harmful perceptions and prejudices in our upcoming training ‘Safeguarding and Prejudice’, find out more about our training here.

The FACES conference was a hub of inspiration and action for a critical time. Different faiths and cultures unite because we care about our children’s future. We want to bring about lasting change in our communities to protect our children by equipping those who care for them. Understanding what child abuse does to a person and how they can journey through to transformation offers hope and change that saves lives and transforms broken people.

I found the FACES conference one of the most interesting events I have attended all year. It was fantastic to see an event that engaged members of public and professionals. It placed the voices of lesser heard people and communities at the heart of the conversation. The event was both informative and challenging. It reinforced the point that it is the responsibility of services and professionals to engage all members of our society. Engaging lesser heard people and communities has to be an ongoing commitment, not an event. It takes time to build trust.

It was important for my colleagues to hear things that we are not able to say to them ourselves.

I was very honoured to be invited to the FACES conference and hear about the progress FACES has made within Luton so far. Working with faith communities to prevent CSE is extremely important. I have come away feeling very inspired to see how we could continue to work alongside FACES in the future.

These are conversations that we desperately need to have in Luton and I am pleased that FACES have initiated them.