Safe and Sound Launches Support for City Roma Community

30 October 2018

A local charity which works to tackle child sexual abuse and exploitation across Derbyshire has launched a special project to support the Roma community in the city.

Safe and Sound works to prevent such criminal exploitation and provides support directly to children, young people and families in Derby and Derbyshire affected by abuse.

Safe and Sound is part of a wider 18-month Government-funded project, led by Derby City Council, to support the Roma community with issues they face such as education, housing and modern slavery.

Frontline project worker Eugenia Komazinova is working with young people who have experienced or been highlighted as at risk of sexual abuse and exploitation.

Group workshops are being held with parents, carers and young people to develop their knowledge and understanding of the issue.

And she is working in more depth with local community leaders and voluntary sector workers to enable them to further raise awareness of the issue, supported by first language information materials.

There are at least 4,000 Roma people currently living in Derby city – predominantly large families with numerous dependent children.

Eugenia Komazinova explained: “Roma families come to the UK for a better life but can sometimes be naïve about the dangers surrounding child sexual abuse and exploitation.

“They come from largely rural communities and coming to a city can therefore be very alien to their culture.

“The whole community is unaware of the grooming tactics used by perpetrators.  This is compounded by the language barriers they face and their reluctance to engage with authorities who can support them.

“These factors therefore make children and young people from the Roma community in the city extremely vulnerable to child sexual abuse and exploitation.”

She continued: “Our aim is to firstly directly support those young people who are already being groomed or who are regarded as at particular risk of such exploitation and to keep them safe.

“We also need to raise awareness across this community of this kind of abuse and build their trust in Safe and Sound who can support young people and their families.”

Safe and Sound Acting Chief Executive Simon Hills added: “We have an excellent track record in working alongside Derby City Council to support young people who have experienced or are at risk of child sexual abuse and exploitation.

“This expansion of our work in the city and the opportunity to work alongside a wider range of community partners is testament to our expertise in this field and I am confident that our work will have a positive impact on the lives of Roma people who have settled in Derby.”

Notes to the editor:

For more information please contact Sarah Jenkin-Jones, JJPR, Tel: 01332 515102/07951 945665; [email protected]