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Sexual Exploitation Victims Helped with Funding from Commissioner

24th August 2015

More victims of sexual exploitation will be helped thanks to funding from Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird’s Supporting Victims Fund.

Changing Lives will receive over £65,000 from the fund to expand their Girls are Proud (GAP) and Male Action Programme (MAP) projects.

These provide specialist support for female and male victims of sexual exploitation and those involved in survival sex work across North Tyneside and Northumberland.

The projects work with people living chaotic lifestyles characterised by abusive relationships, trauma, lost custody of children, addiction, unstable housing and poor mental health. A lot of the charity’s clients sell sex for survival and the risk of exploitation is extremely high.

Changing Lives offers trauma-informed support, specialist knowledge and skills and safe places for people to disclose their experiences. Dedicated development workers will deliver group work, drop-in sessions, one to one support and specialist therapy.

The charity will work with Northumbria Police to establish Dedicated Liaison Officers (DLOs) with specialist knowledge to compliment the work of Independent Sexual Violence Advisors (ISVAs).

Commissioner Baird said: “This is such a worthwhile charity that’s doing great things giving those suffering from sexual exploitation the help and support they need.

“So many of those they come into contact with have suffered sexual abuse as children and have then been exposed to sexual exploitation in their teenage years.

“Without help from a charity like Changing Lives, the trauma these victims have experienced will undoubtedly affect their future lives but they may also be unable to break free from the abuse they’ve suffered and go on to suffer further victimisation.

“Changing Lives does exactly that. I’m confident help given from my Supporting Victims Fund will see the organisation make a difference to so many lives through its GAP and MAP projects.”

Laura Seebohm, Director of Women and Criminal Justice Services at Changing Lives, added: “We’re delighted to receive this significant commitment from the Supporting Victims Fund to help extend our services for vulnerable women and men across Northumberland and North Tyneside.

“Changing Lives takes a trauma-informed approach to working with people vulnerable to sexual exploitation and abuse, which recognises the central role greater emotional resilience can play in breaking cycles of abuse and victimisation.

“This funding will help us support more women and men to genuinely change their lives and put the trauma of sexual exploitation and abuse behind them.”

For more information on Changing Lives visit