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Hard-hitting play raises awareness of child sexual exploitation

27 September 2017

Students in every Jersey secondary school will be shown a powerful play to help raise awareness of child sexual exploitation (CSE) and to prevent young people from becoming victims.

The internationally renowned play, Chelsea’s Choice, has been shown to more than 700,000 young people throughout the UK, and will be shown to the Island’s students, professionals and parents from next week.

In a joint initiative, the Safeguarding Children Partnership Board and the Education Department have commissioned AlterEgo theatre company to bring the production to Jersey. The production will be shown 20 times over a two-week period to every secondary school on the Island for pupils in Year 9 and above.

There will also be the opportunity for professionals and parents to see the play, in order to raise awareness about the impact of CSE on children’s lives and to give them knowledge to assist in protecting children by identifying signs and helping to prevent grooming and exploitation.

Chelsea’s Choice has been highly successful in raising awareness of CSE.  It tells the story of a group of three students who discover the diary of a girl called Chelsea. Chelsea was a 15 year-old girl who, having fallen out with her friends and family, met a guy called Gary. Gary was kind, understanding, had a nice car, had his own flat and listened to her. Unfortunately, Gary was not what he seemed to be. Chelsea’s story is played out and examined by the three students who, along with their teacher, attempt to understand what happened to Chelsea and how it could have been prevented.

Independent chair of the Safeguarding Children Partnership Board, Glenys Johnston, said “On behalf of the Safeguarding Children Partnership Board, I am delighted to welcome AlterEgo Creative Solutions Company to Jersey. Having had the opportunity to see Chelsea's Choice in other jurisdictions I am confident they will make an important contribution to safeguarding our children in Jersey, by raising awareness of the risks of child sexual exploitation to them, their parents and a wide range of professionals.”

Education Minister Deputy Rod Bryans added “It’s important that we give our young people information like this, even though it is a difficult subject. They need to be in a position to make good life decisions and keep themselves safe when they encounter challenging situations. Education is the key. I would like to thank everyone involved in putting on this production and would encourage parents to see the play too.”

Vice Chair of the Safeguarding Partnership Board, Detective Superintendent Stewart Gull, added “During the course of the last year, there have been 42 CSE referrals to the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub, 19 of which have then been assessed and managed through the multi-agency sexual exploitation process.

“There is no evidence in Jersey of organised grooming or CSE – cases here almost exclusively centre on inappropriate relationships, often involving a gap in ages.”

It is hoped that the audience will gain a better understanding of the devastating impact that sexual exploitation has on a young person's life and provide them with some skills and knowledge to be able to protect themselves from this form of abuse.

Grainville School will be the first school to be shown the production on Monday 2 October, and there will be an opportunity for parents of children who have seen the play at school to watch it at the Town Hall on 12 October.

Places are limited so tickets must be booked through Eventbrite.

Eventbrite: Chelsea's Choice

The play covers

  • what makes a healthy relationship
  • what makes an unhealthy relationship
  • safe internet use
  • sexting
  • what constitutes consent
  • the grooming process, child sexual exploitation and the differing models and methods
  • where to go for help and advice
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