Latest News | 19 July 2022

20 years of keeping vulnerable youngsters safe and sound

Share this post:

In the latest edition of Marketing Derby’s Innovate magazine, we meet Tracy Harrison, the inspirational leader of Safe and Sound, a charity which works to protect young people from sexual and criminal exploitation.

This year, the charity is marking its 20th anniversary after being founded by Sheila Taylor, who, through her work at the time as a volunteer with the Prince’s Trust, had encountered a number of young people who were being exploited for sex within Derby.

Initially set up to support young victims and those at risk of sexual exploitation, three years ago, the charity widened its remit to include criminal exploitation.

In her interview with Innovate, Tracy, who before becoming chief executive of Safe and Sound, served more than 30 years with Derbyshire Constabulary, reveals how she herself could have been at risk as a youngster.

She recalled: “I could easily have been one of the young people we end up helping.

“I lost my dad when I was 14. My mum married a guy who was an alcoholic and almost became one herself. She had mental health issues and ended up having to choose between me and the man she was with.

“She chose him – and I left home with two carrier bags at the age of 17. If I hadn’t had people who looked out for me, things could have turned out very differently.”

Thanks to Safe and Sound’s work over the past 20 years, there is now much greater awareness and understanding of the issues.

However, according to Tracy, the core problem of exploitation remains and those identified as in need of help are growing.

She tells Innovate, that Safe and Sound’s USP is that they support young people in the way that they want to be supported and for as long as they need.

Referrals for help are made by police, social care, other charities, parents and from children themselves.

Each week, Safe and Sound workers and volunteers carry out outreach work in the city, establishing dialogue with young people who may be at risk.

The charity also focuses on preventative work with vulnerable groups like those at risk of expulsion from school.

Tracy said: “We change lives for the better for young people. We keep them safe. We rebuild their confidence and their relationships and then we try to give them the step on to the next chapter.

“And then, for families, we help them to be a family again. We try to look holistically at rebuilding the family and one of the things I’m proud of is we have started doing art therapy – getting parents and children together doing activities, getting them to work together, to be able to talk together, to laugh together again, be able to be a family again. Family work has been crucial.”

To read the full article in the latest Innovate magazine click here.

Related Articles...

This will close in 0 seconds