Earlier this year Keri Duffy, Learning and Development Officer at Fife Violence Against Women Partnership used our CLiCK Bitesize resources to deliver awareness-raising training around commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) in Fife. In this blog she tells us what it was like to plan and deliver these sessions as well as her tips for anyone considering doing the same.
Why did you decide to deliver CLICK Bitesize sessions?
I wanted to raise awareness of the issues within Fife. We don’t know the extent of CSE in Fife and nationally it is the same. But we do know that it happens and that women are negatively impacted. I wanted to raise awareness with the workforce so that if anybody ever comes across a woman who was experiencing CSE, they would be able to confidently address it and have those open discussions with the women. I wouldn’t want people shutting down conversations when it’s the first time a woman’s been able to open up.
We are also hoping to work towards a policy of the licensing of Sexual Entertainment Venues within Fife and we would want to set that at zero. So really raising that awareness and bringing CSE to the forefront of people’s minds so that when we move to that next stage, people have a really good understanding of the issue and hopefully support us.
How has your knowledge around CSE changed after delivering CLiCK Bitesize sessions?
I definitely feel more confident. I was involved in delivering all of these sessions but I had to familiarize myself with the topics first, which meant going away and doing a bit of research. I went through all the CLiCK bitesize information and also teamed up with CSE Aware – who gave me a wee bit more resources to add to the training. Just the preparation work enhanced my knowledge, as well as being able to deliver the sessions alongside relevant partners.
It has definitely increased my knowledge of the impact that CSE can have on women and their daily lives. It also got us thinking about what supports are there in Fife specifically for women who are involved and recognising that there is a massive gap – there’s no specialized service in Fife.
What session gave you the most food for thought?
They were all really interesting. Obviously the overview led you into some of the issues that women have experienced. I liked that we ran all the sessions in succession and it’s something that we would plan to do annually now. The feedback was absolutely brilliant for each of the sessions, but we didn’t have the attendance that we had hoped for. I think even just reaching the number of people that we’ve reached and allowing other people to hear about CSE, I think each year we will probably increase the attendance once people start hearing about them.
Workers from different organisations attended the sessions – what were some of the themes that they found most surprising or interesting?
I think for attendees it was probably the session around legislation. We did a lot of engagement with the participants, it wasn’t just us talking to them – we did all sorts of exercises. We went through questions like ‘do you think that’s legal or illegal?’ and I think there was a lot of surprise about what was legal and what was illegal and the slight differences even between public and private spaces.
We had police delivering that session with us, so we were able to say, ‘we know that women aren’t always criminalised. They maybe have a look at what the circumstances are.’ For participants to hear that from someone in the police was really good. I think that actually the law does need to change and everybody is aware of that.
What would be your advice to those who want to deliver CLICK Bitesize sessions?
A few things. So like I said, that preparation, getting to know the materials and doing a bit of research so you’re ready for any questions that might come up. I also liked the partnering up. We are a violence against women partnership in Fife so I thought that it was great for participants to see our partners delivering with us – we went to those specialized in each subject. For legislation we went to police, for CSE and money we partnered up with social work justice services and it was someone who had a real interest in the subject and had previously supported service users who had been involved in CSE. For housing we had our housing colleagues. We had Laura of CSE Aware for the overview and for exiting, which I think worked really well. FRASAC – the rape and sexual assault centre in Fife –delivered the mental health one because they come across women who will be experiencing all the issues that we spoke about due to CSE.
And I think having engagement with your audience as well – the feedback that we got from the evaluations was that it was a really good mix. For each session we would cover the definition of CSE, the definition of gender-based violence and then went into the different topics and exercises. We would have breakout rooms, discussions in the whole room, we would do quizzes, videos, menti exercises, we even did a snakes and ladders game for one of them.
Running all the sessions was good advice as well. I know some people might pick and choose what they want to do, but I think running them as a series worked really well. Some people would come along to all of them, and others would choose to dip into what their interest was. I ran them quite close to each other – it was every 2 weeks until the holiday period when we had a wee break because we don’t get the same engagement in Fife during holiday periods, so I suppose it’s just looking at when you get your most engagement as well, and also publicising it widely.
If you would like to deliver your own CLiCK Bitesize sessions in your organisation, download our free resources and materials here and get in touch if you have any questions.