We're pleased to lend our expertise to the Commission on Young Lives and Agenda's roundtable discussion on how to support young women at risk of criminal exploitation and violence. On 19 July, our CEO and Founder Abi Billinghurst and Head of Services Nicky Hill joined the discussion expertly chaired by Indy Cross.
We spoke about our model of practice which is rooted in youth work, our participatory principles and our solution-focused approach. We see regularly that young women come to our service at a point of crisis. This means that there have been missed opportunities in the past to support those young women. When working with vulnerable young women, we are using an approach that balances their right to protection with their right to participate in decisions that affect their lives. We aim to do this even when a young woman is in crisis.
We also need to consider that young women affected by criminal exploitation face unique challenges with the Modern Slavery Act and the National Referral Mechanism. We must risk assess our own decision-making around young women being identified as 'victims'. This could lead to them being witnesses in court proceedings which may expose them to threats of violence and retribution.
Thanks to Anne Longfield for the opportunity to participate, and to Indy Cross for being such a wonderful chair. We're grateful to have been invited. There was so much wisdom shared and it was great to see such passion for seeing, hearing and supporting young women.