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Sunday 08 December 2019
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 Helping Ourselves Prevent Exploitation - The HOPE Project

HOPE is an exciting new project that recruits, trains and supports peer mentors with learning disabilities to provide awareness training about sexual exploitation. 

The initiative is co-funded by the Daphne programme of the European Union that encourages multi-agency cooperation to address violence against women and children. 

In England, BILD will be running the programme in the South West and in the Midlands. Our European partners are the Social Association St Andrew (SASA) which provides outreach social work with the Roma communities in Varna, Bulgaria and the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) based in Brussels.

The project will run from January 2017 to the end of June 2019. It is expected that all of the resources that are developed will be freely available to download so that the initiative can be replicated across Europe.

How will the project work?

Peer mentors with learning disabilities will be recruited, trained and supported to develop and deliver accessible awareness training. 

Their target audience will be young people with learning disabilities aged 14 to 25. 

The training will be delivered in workshops led by the peer mentors and HOPE project workers. It will focus on keeping safe from sexual exploitation through exploring good and bad relationships.

At the same time, the peer mentors and project workers will develop and deliver learning workshops to multidisciplinary professionals to improve their knowledge and responses to sexual exploitation.

In addition, the project will work with parents, families and carers to raise their awareness of sexual exploitation.

What will be the outcomes?

The young people who take part in the workshops and follow up work will be better able to recognise, resist and report any sexual exploitation.

The schools, colleges and support organisations will have an increased awareness of sexual exploitation and ensure better multidisciplinary cooperation and practice.

The results and resources will be shared and available to be used across Europe. This will include regular updates, a best practice guide and a final conference.

Getting Involved?

If you have a learning disability, you could become a mentor

If you support young people with learning disabilities, you could book a workshop

Your school, college or service could take part in the project.

Let us know by contacting the names opposite.

Underprotected, Overprotected Easy Read

Children with learning disabilities at risk of sexual exploitation

The report, Unprotected, Overprotected: meeting the needs of young people with learning disabilities who experience, or are at risk of sexual exploitation, was commissioned by Comic Relief and undertaken by Barnardo’s, The Children’s Society, BILD, Paradigm Research and Coventry University.  

The project also produced a series of leaflets that identified the signs of sexual exploitation for children with learning disabilities and targeted at:

  • Young people with learning disabilities
  • Parents and carers
  • Those working in this field


Find out more and download the accessible leaflets  > 

Promising Practices Guide

At the end of the project, a Promising Practices Guide was created, which includes key findings from our research together with key recommendations from what has been learnt. It includes examples of Promising Practices from Bulgaria and England that were identified through a call for such initiatives. These have been called Promising Practices because there is still room for further development and upscaling.

Download the Promising Practices Guide here>

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HOPE flyer cover image
HOPE participant's flyer image

BILD HOPE Project Contacts

Contact Keith Smith on 0121 415 6964 or email on k.smith@bild.org.uk 

In the South West, contact the Regional Coordinator Rod Landman on 07748 560262 or email r.landman@bild.org.uk

In the Midlands, contact the Regional Coordinator Bridget Fisher on 07889 699972 or email b.fisher@bild.org.uk

Other HOPE Project contacts

Social Association St Andrew (SASA)

Monika Heitmann


European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD)  

Sonia Staskowiak Sonia.Staskowiak@easpd.eu



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