On Tuesday 11th July five inspiring young people visited SPARK to share the premiere of their two co-produced films exploring the impact of Child Criminal Exploitation. The event was hosted by CASCADE and attended by a small group of invited guests from across a range of related organisations. These included: Violence Prevention Unit, South Wales Police, Swansea Council, Media Academy Cymru, Welsh Ambulance and others.

The films form part of the co-produced toolkits developed for Dr Nina Maxwell’s Health and Care Research Wales funded project entitled, ‘Child Criminal Exploitation in Wales’. 

They have been developed to raise awareness of the dangers and consequences of harmful relationships. They sit alongside other resources available through her website. https://complexsafeguardingwales.org/

One of the key messages from young people to come from the research, was that more should be done to raise awareness of the reality of getting involved in criminality. Rather than hearing from teachers, young people wanted to hear from people they could relate to and importantly, people with lived experiences who understood what it is like to grow up in Wales and to be faced with these unhealthy relationships.  It was from here that Nina’s idea to develop these films came to life. 

In partnership with Swansea local authority and produced by James Button Film we had the privilege to work with 5 fabulous young people. They developed the plan for the films and the messages they wanted to share in them. They decided to make two different films to share two different perspectives, first to highlight the experiences of young people getting directly involved in criminality and then secondly that of their friends of families and the impact on them.  

To showcase these films, CASCADE held a film premiere at Cardiff University Social Science Park. The event was opened by Damian Rees, Principal Officer for Safeguarding in relation to County Lines and Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), who gave us some background on why these films are important. Damian thanked the young people for giving their time, acknowledging that this was a large piece of work that involved talking about difficult and sometimes upsetting experiences.

Curtis Cana is the Youth work Co-ordinator at Swansea Council. He has been instrumental in supporting the Young People to engage withy the project and he introduced the films.

“Being a part of this film project has been really beneficial for both us as youth workers and the young people. As Youth Workers I think it has given us a lot to think about in the work that we do to support young people who are both involved in criminality and also the young people who are affected by criminality of their peers, friends and families. 

For the young people, the conversations we have had with them surrounding this piece of work have allowed us to build strong relationships with them based on trust and understanding and has allowed us to help safeguard them and others, this would have not been possible without the partnerships involved in this piece of work”.

Curtis Cana

The films were powerful and left a real impact on the audience. We are now keen to make sure the young people’s hard work is put to good use and can make an impact across Wales and the UK. These films will be made available by special request, to schools, alternative provision and professionals working with young people. For further information on the project and all the outcomes visit https://complexsafeguardingwales.org/. To enquire about access to the films please contact, Maxwelln2@cardiff.ac.uk

We would like to express our enormous gratitude for the hard work, commitment, bravery and responsibility shown by the Young People. None of this could have happened without them.