Site gives young people a safety net

HELP ON HAND: Youth worker Ieuan Watkins, who helped to produce the new mobile-friendly website to help potential victims of sex exploitation

HELP ON HAND: Youth worker Ieuan Watkins, who helped to produce the new mobile-friendly website to help potential victims of sex exploitation Buy this photo

First published in News

A YOUTH charity in the city has created a mobile accessible website to help potential victims of child sex exploitation.

Oxford Youth Works built the site Safety 4 Me after hearing about the predatory sex crimes of the Oxford grooming gang at the centre of Operation Bullfinch, and TV entertainer Jimmy Savile.

Ieuan Watkins, a youth development worker at the charity, said: “We have never done anything like this before. But we said someone had to do something.”

He said it would educate people about sexual exploitation and therefore prevent it.

The site hosts a series of questions to the user then tells them if they are in a healthy relationship. If not, they are referred to telephone numbers of charities including Childline.

Mr Watkins said: “This is literally in the young people’s hands and can be there 24/7.”

The programme was developed after a £3,000 donation from an anonymous Oxford trust.

Mr Watkins said a proper phone app would have cost about £25,000 and this mobile accessible site was more discreet so abusers could not tell their victims had been looking at it.

Watlington Road-based Oxford Youth Works has been in the city for 25 years this year and works in schools to support children.

  • To use the service visit the site at safety4me.net
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