Year 7 students attended a personal safety assembly which included a drama monologue exploring the themes of exploitation and grooming.
The assembly began with actor Jodi Brée adopting the character of Danielle, an impressionable 14-year old girl who was drawn into a friendship with an older man called Callum.
Callum used information he had researched about Danielle to gain her trust and draw her into working for him. Over time, she is pulled into travelling up and down the country trafficking drugs. Initially feeling empowered by what he offers her, she soon gets out of her depth and he uses blackmail, financial control and violence to get what he wants out of her.
Once the main part of the drama was finished, the audience had an opportunity to ask questions of ‘Danielle’ who answered in character to embellish on the detail of the story. There were lots of questions such as, “Why did you want to be popular? — how much did you smuggle? — why did you carry a knife even though you didn’t want to?” When asked why she thought she was chosen, ‘Danielle’ said: “I was chosen because I looked young and would be ‘under the radar,’ so no one would notice me.”
Actor/facilitator Jodi is part of Loudmouth who provide innovative theatre for schools and young people to help them navigate issues around Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE), child exploitation and personal safety. “We’re very keen for young people to recognise and develop safe relationships, how to spot danger signs and where to go for help,” said Jodi.
The students seemed very engaged with the assembly which was also attended by two West Mercia police officers. “It’s interesting for us to see work that’s going on in schools and to see that it complements our own efforts in communities,” said officer Farmer.