A former senior police officer has been appointed to head up a specialist local charity dedicated to transforming the lives of children and young people who are victims or at risk of child sexual exploitation (CSE).
Tracy Harrison is the new Chief Executive of Safe and Sound which is based in Derby and works with children and young people aged up to 18 across the city and county.
The well-respected charity also raises awareness in local communities about the dangers and signs of grooming and exploitation of young people.
Mrs Harrison’s remit is to expand and develop the scope of the charity’s work to support more young people, their families and local communities across the county and region.
Mrs Harrison recently retired from Derbyshire Constabulary after a 32-year career with the Force.
During that time she progressed from Constable to the rank of Superintendent – leading a number of high profile investigations and receiving several awards including four Chief Constable’s commendations for bravery, outstanding charitable work as well as leading and coaching people.
Her final role before retiring was as Superintendent in charge of operational policing in the south of the county.
She was also the Force’s lead on children and young people working in partnership across the county to improve the lives of children and young people, particularly those most vulnerable in local communities.
Mrs Harrison said: “I have been involved with Safe and Sound since it was founded in 2002 and would like to take the opportunity to thank those involved with the charity thus far. There have been some incredible achievements that I would like to build on.
“I have worked voluntarily for a wide range of local charities that are focused on supporting vulnerable young people and their families alongside my career with Derbyshire Police.
“Children are my life – particularly through my charitable work and within my own large and extended family. I am passionate that we need to do all we can to nurture them into adulthood.
“I am therefore delighted and honoured that the next chapter in my working life will be to further develop the vital work that Safe and Sound do to support and protect children and young people from the devastating and manipulative damage that sexual exploitation has on their lives.”
Child Sexual Exploitation (commonly referred to as CSE) is a form of child sexual abuse and takes many different forms from rape and sexual assault to online grooming and encouraging children to share inappropriate images of themselves.
The key factor is that individuals or groups take advantage of young people by manipulating or deceiving them into sexual activity in exchange for something the victim needs or wants.
This could range from money and alcohol to less tangible things such as the attention that they crave at a vulnerable time in their lives.
Mrs Harrison continued: “CSE is a complex issue and a major factor in many of the crimes affecting young people from online grooming to County Lines.
“CSE can affect any young person. It doesn’t matter where they live, their family situation, cultural or social background.
“Often people don’t talk about exploitation because it’s easier not to but I want people to talk about it. Together we can transform our young people’s lives.
“Our role as a specialist charity is to help these young people to come to terms with their experiences and move on with their lives.”
“We have an exciting new vision for Safe and Sound and will be announcing this and how people can better support our work in the coming weeks.”
Safe and Sound Chair Catherine Arkley welcomed Mrs Harrison’s appointment at this crucial time for the charity.
“Tracy has proven herself to be a compassionate and inspirational leader during her illustrious career in the Police Force and her experience and expertise around CSE will be vital in taking Safe and Sound to the next level.
“CSE continues to be an issue that affects the lives of far too many children and young people.
“Under Tracy’s leadership I am confident that we will be in an even stronger position to transform many more young lives and give them the help and support that they so desperately need.”