Keighley is a small mill town in decline, with high levels of poverty and multiple deprivation and inequalities. The brunt of this negative impact is borne by women and girls, as evidenced by increasing rates of social isolation, mental health, low levels of educational attainment, low aspirations, unemployment, domestic violence and other forms of abuse.
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) has been an ongoing issue of concern for at least a decade in Keighley, as a disproportionate number of cases- both current and historic- are being investigated. Given the intense media profile of CSE cases in and around Keighley, it is an opportune time to engage the BME and wider Keighley community on previously taboo subjects. Notwithstanding the challenges we may face, the process of challenging patriarchal views of women and girls is long overdue.
Evidence shows that where women and girls are given the tools, skills and confidence in addressing key issues, not only does it impact positively on them but on the community as a whole. This project is aimed at giving women and girls better opportunities in difficult circumstances as an integral part of the need for inward investment and prevention. However, the added value should be seen where a whole community is more likely to turn itself around and thrive.