A charity which helps young people who may be confused about their sexuality is being supported by our child protection officers in west Kent.

The BeYou Project reaches out to children and young adults who may feel upset and scared about their feelings, or have worries about how they fit in at school and in their communities. BeYou is a support service in Kent for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and non-binary or are questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity. It is run by the charity Porchlight and offers a referral process where young people can speak about their emotions and what they are going through.

Officers from the West Kent Vulnerability Investigation Team are working closely with BeYou to identify and support those who may benefit from the support, which includes both face-to-face and online meet ups, either individually or in groups. Advice and guidance is also provided for family members, or those in charge of children’s care.

Detective Constable Charlotte Brown said: ‘Our vulnerability investigation officers realise the importance of a child’s voice when dealing with all incidents, including domestic abuse and crimes against children. We need to ensure every interaction we have with a child or young person is an opportunity to engage, hear any concerns they may have and ultimately safeguard their welfare. Working with other partners such as BeYou is just one of a number of ways we can ensure young people, who may be vulnerable, are getting the support they need.

‘It allows the opportunity to meet, talk and relax in a friendly and safe place away from the pressures of school and family life. It really is a great project which we hope to continue to work with. We are also raising awareness of BeYou among front line officers, in order to help them identify those who may benefit from the support on offer.’

Detective Constable Charlotte Brown

The BeYou Project’s Tracey Dwamenah added: ‘The majority of young people in Kent don’t know where to turn for advice and guidance on LGBT+ related issues. We’re really pleased to be working with Kent Police because it means we can get more support to those who need it. Porchlight runs The BeYou Project because LGBT+ young people are disproportionately affected by homelessness, but by putting the right support in place they can have a brighter future.’

By Ed