Hard-hitting play about grooming and sexual exploitation to visit Stevenage schools as part of Hertfordshire-wide campaign

Herts Aid director Suzanne Bannister.

Herts Aid director Suzanne Bannister. - Credit: Archant

Schoolchildren will learn about grooming and sexual exploitation in a hard-hitting attempt to keep them safe.

A play – Chelsea’s Choice – was first performed to 12-15 year olds in Herts on Monday, and will soon be watched by students at Stevenage schools Nobel and Marriotts, too.

The production is based on the real-life experiences of children who have been sexually exploited, and aims to help children identify risky situations, promote safe internet use, and raise awareness of the grooming process and the different forms it can take.

HIV and sexual health charity Herts Aid is working with Alterego Creative Solutions to take the play to schools across the county.

Herts Aid director Suzanne Bannister said: “It’s hard-hitting, but while children are at risk of online grooming, blackmail and sexual exploitation, these are issues we have to address.

“We know children can initially be flattered by attention from someone older, but can quickly find themselves in a scary situation and afraid to seek help. Chelsea’s Choice gives young people the knowledge they need to protect themselves and the confidence to report this kind of exploitation when they recognise it.”

Children will be provided with contact details in case they, or someone they know, are being exploited.

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The production will come to Nobel and Marriotts in the week beginning May 18.

Herts Aid has also produced a one-page document of tips for parents which can be viewed at www.hertsaid.co.uk.

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