Real Love Rocks
Real Love Rocks is a website with three different sections targeting Young People, Parents and Professionals
Real Love Rocks is a healthy Relationships and Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) team based within Barnardo’s, a UK based charity working to protect, support and nurture the UK’s most vulnerable children. The Real Love Rocks team are all about supporting and equipping young people, parents and professionals to have the confidence and information to chat and raise awareness about CSE, healthy relationships and staying safe.
Mode and context of delivery
Real Love Rocks is a website where young people, parents and professionals can learn more about CSE and what a healthy and safe relationship is. This website can be used by individuals in their own time, or as a resource in a group setting e.g. in an educative setting whereby young people’s learning can be facilitated by group discussions. The professional section advertises opportunities to arrange bespoke face-to-face training opportunities, order a resource pack and gain access to an online membership area.
Level/Nature of staff expertise required
Staff involvement is not necessary for an individual to use the website. The website is appropriately tailored so that individuals with no knowledge of CSE can develop an understanding.
Intensity/extent of engagement with target group(s)
The website can be used by an individual at their own pace and as often as they need or want to access it.
Description of intervention
The Real Love Rocks website is separated in three sections. The first section, targeted at young people, contains videos and written information around what CSE is, how to keep safe and where to get help. A Gallery App is currently being created which will focus on creatively sharing young people’s views on relationships and life.
The second section is targeted at parents and provides information around what CSE is, how to talk to their young person about relationships, signs that their young person may be being sexually exploited, where to find help and top tips to keeping their young person safe.
The third section is targeted at professionals working with young people and advertises opportunities to arrange bespoke face-to-face training opportunities, order a resource pack and gain access to an online membership area. There are two resource packs available to order, one targeted at primary school children, and the other targeted at secondary school children. The primary school resource pack (for children in year 6, i.e. age 10-11 years) is an interactive tool to help schools and other professionals talk to children in an age appropriate way about relationships and keeping safe. The resource uses lots of games, crafts, activities and animations to help children think be aware of CSE risks now, and in the future. It follows four key themes:
- Relationships - what they are and what makes a happy, safe and fair relationship
- Grooming - what it is and how to get help if a child feels uncomfortable
- Keeping Safe - how to stay safe, especially as they begin to get an increased independence and go to secondary school
- Being Online - How to keep safe when online, on phones, computers, tablets and when gaming
The secondary school resource is aimed at young people in years 7-9 (i.e. ages 11-14 years), although some schools may choose to use it in higher years. Through the use of games, crafts, activities and animations, it addresses four key themes:
- Relationships - What they are and what makes a happy, safe, fair and consensual relationship
- Child Sexual Exploitation - What it means, the different ways it might happen and where to get help if needed
- Keeping Safe - Encouraging young people to think about how to stay safe when they are out and about; highlighting the added risk that alcohol, drugs or not being in contact with parents/careers can bring
- Impact of Watching Porn and Sexting - The impact of watching porn and the possible consequences. The risks involved in sexting and how to stay safe online.
In 2012 Barnardo’s Safer Futures West Service embarked on a large project alongside several Local Authorities in Greater Manchester to scope and address some of the concerns relating to CSE in the area. Staff spoke to professionals from Social Care, Health, Police, Education, Youth Services and Third Sector agencies as well as numerous groups of children and young people. Parallel to this project Barnardo’s recruited a new member of staff to run sessions - soon titled Real Love Rocks- in school in Greater Manchester raising awareness of CSE and healthy relationships.
As Real Love Rocks delivered schools work and spoke to professionals from their different agencies it became clear that many were regularly dealing with the consequences of sexting, online grooming, pornography, exploitation, risky behaviour, sexism, sexual bullying and confusion around consent. A high proportion of those interviewed highlighted the importance and need for both prevention and early intervention work, but reflected that tackling these issues felt like a daunting task. The message received from the children and young people was they would like more time in schools and other youth settings to discuss these issues. They also locally that schools and professionals confirmed previously conducted national research, which was portraying a sharp decrease in the average age of children and young people being identified as being at risk of CSE, unhealthy relationships and risky behaviour. Many felt that access to the internet and an increase in media pressure meant the children they work with are asking more questions and experimenting at an earlier age than the generation before them, leaving a difficult and often overwhelming task and expectation to address these issues, without wanting to further expose children to adult themes.
The Real Love Rocks sessions run by Barnardo’s in school were proving popular and effective in raising awareness and chatting to children and young people about these themes. It was evident, however, that there was limitation to the number of children and young people one team could reach. As a result Safer Futures decided to develop Real Love Rocks into a resource that could be delivered by professionals in their universal services. This was piloted across Greater Manchester receiving positive feedback from children, young people and teachers and the resource was launched in May 2014.
Since the launch the resource has been delivered by teachers, social workers, youth workers, school nurses and sexual health professionals to reach more than 14,000 children and young people. The team have worked with an increasing number of Local Authorities who have commissioned the resource for every school in their authority.
To date Real Love Rocks has continued to work alongside multi agency colleagues to develop ways to support and equip those working in universal settings.
Barnardo’s (2019). Real Love Rocks. Retrieved from https://www.barnardosrealloverocks.org.uk/
Barnardo’s West Safer Futures
Child Sexual Exploitation Development Work
222 Eccles Old Road
Barnardo’s is a Registered Charity (216250/SC037605)
INFORMATION CORRECT AT MARCH 2021