Our projects bring together people from Christian and Muslim communities through training for faith leaders and youth workers and programmes for young people. Our inclusive, interfaith approach strengthens community resilience and utilises common concerns to address the risk of child sexual exploitation (CSE).
Through our training we work to tackle challenges to cohesion by facilitating meaningful interfaith sessions, dispelling misunderstanding and misinformation about the role racial and religious factors have in determining perpetrators and victims of CSE. We recognise and highlight the learning opportunities in speaking to each other about shared concerns and experiences and ensure our work is mindful of different faith and culture contexts, embracing our differences as well as our similarities.
Our work with young people recognises the importance of children having a strong sense of who they are and what they want to be, in contrast to how others may perceive them and how popular culture tells them they should be. We recognise that they are surrounded by an oversexualised culture which can create situations that put them at risk of CSE and that can be in direct opposition to our often shared religious and moral values.
We explore communication and healthy and unhealthy relationships with young people, creating spaces for honest and open discussions which allows for problematic viewpoints and incorrect perceptions around common situations they experience to be shared and addressed in appropriate ways. If they have the confidence and ability to communicate well, they are more likely to reach out if they feel at risk and are more likely to speak up when they see their peer is at risk.
Accepting that young people will have diverse opinions and experiences that will come from various places; their family, friends, popular culture, faith; and ensuring they feel confident and comfortable enough to express those opinions, is a necessary step in provoking thought and influencing safer outcomes.