Help and Support for victims of Operation Sanctuary

Help and Support for victims of Operation Sanctuary

If you are a victim or know someone who has been affected by the horrendous crimes highlighted as part of Operation Sanctuary then help and support is at hand.
We have worked and continue to work very closely with Northumbria Police to protect and support victims. This includes those who are part of the investigation and also those who are not.

Support for victims

Victims may have been affected at any time of their life, for example, some may have been abused as a child but are now an adult.

There is support at hand if you are a victim, even if you have been in touch already and need support, there is help available. Anyone who is a victim of sexual exploitation, or who knows someone who is, can contact 101.
Alternatively you can talk to specialist staff in our Victims Hub between 8am to 8pm, call 101
If you don’t feel comfortable speaking directly to Police then you contact Childline on Telephone: 08001111 and speak to someone in confidence.

Or you can contact REACH on Telephone: 0191 221 9222 for independent confidential advice and help.

It’s important you seek help and we are ready to listen.
If you think someone is in immediate danger then call 999. 

Support for families

We understand it may be difficult for families to deal with incidents where family members are, or have been, victims of sexual exploitation and abuse. You don’t need to deal with this on your own, there is help available for affected families. Parents or carers can ring PACE (Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation) on Telephone: 0113 240 5226.
If you suspect someone in your family is or has been a victim of sexual assault of abuse then contact Northumbria Police directly by calling 101. If you think someone is in immediate danger then call 999.
If you are a young person you can also speak to a trusted adult, a parent, carer or teacher, who will seek support on your behalf.

How to spot sexual exploitation and abuse

There are signs and indicators to look out for if someone is a victim of sexual exploitation and abuse.  We work closely with organisations like Barnardo’s and our Safeguarding Board to raise awareness of these.

Look out for:

  • changes in mood
  • going missing
  • staying out late
  • being secretive about where they are going
  • lack of interest in activities and hobbies
  • missing school, college or employment
  • changes in appearance
  • changes in behaviour from usual patterns

This short video from Barnardo’s also explains some of the practical steps you can take to protect the children in your life:

Keep them safe

Keep them safe is a free online learning tool from Pace and Virtual College which is designed to help teach the signs and impacts of Child Sexual Exploitation and what to do if you think a child is being exploited.
Find out more about this learning tool

Guidance for professionals

The only way to address sexual exploitation is for everybody, including professionals, the public, family members and friends to work together.
If you believe a crime is happening now you need to contact the police.
Sexual exploitation is a safeguarding issue, if you have concerns please make a safeguarding referral in the usual way, either in a SAIEF to Social Care Direct (for adults) or a Child Concern to IRS (for children).

Need more information?

Useful Links

  • Sexual Exploitation Risk Assessment Checklist
  • Joint Serious Case Review
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