Former gang member, chief prosecutor and detective sergeant among speakers at Northants conference tomorrow

The TARGET conference is being run by Service Six

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 8:35 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th May 2021, 8:38 pm
Keynote speaker at last year's conference was Nazir Afzal

A charity that helps tackle grooming and exploitation of Northamptonshire children is holding its annual conference tomorrow online.

Service Six will hold its fourth annual TARGET conference virtually tomorrow (Friday, May 28) with the theme “Pandemic: Exploiting Isolation”.

The TARGET Project which stands for Targeting And Reducing Grooming, Exploitation and Trading of Children and Young People Online, helps to protect young people against the dangers of online abuse, grooming, sexual exploitation and trading online.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

TARGET educates and supports children and young people and helps them to negotiate the dangerous and often unknown online technological world, offering a variety activities and access to specialist support and providing the volunteering opportunity of becoming a TARGET Champions, providing peer support to other young people.

During lockdown children and young people have spent even more time online and the prevalence of online abuse and grooming has increased significantly leading to this year’s conference theme, “Pandemic: Exploiting Isolation”.

The conference is aimed at child protection professionals and tickets costing £5.98 are available online from Eventbrite. The conference will help share best practice between professionals who support vulnerable children and young people, celebrate the work of the TARGET Project team and will feature a number of though provoking presentations throughout the days.

The conference will be opened by Service Six’ Patron Nazir Afzal OBE, former Chief Crown Prosecutor for NW England and Director of London.

Presentations will be made by Gavin McKenna from Reach Every Generation who has journeyed from gang membership in London to born again Christian, Kenny Gibson the National Head of Safeguarding at NHS England who will be talking about Trauma-Informed Contextual Safeguarding, the impact of Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse on transition years and understanding the victim and perpetrator as adults.

Other speakers will include Carole Fitzsimmons a Detective Sergeant at Northamptonshire Police and a Trustee at Service Six and Lianna McDonald, the Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and a global leader in the protection of the world's children and Julie Boyle, from Graduating from Care is a social worker who has lived experience of the care system.

Service Six TARGET Project Manager Claire Connelly said, “We are delighted to be able to hold this year's conference virtually so that people can attend the event safely and still benefit from listening to some informative and though provoking presentation, celebrate another successful year for the TARGET Project and benefit from the sharing of best practice”.