Young women and girls in communities across England and Wales affected by gang exploitation will have access to vital support under new funding allocated today, 26 August 2022, by the Home Office.
23 local authorities have been awarded a total of £2.64 million of funding for Young Women’s Workers. In their role, the support workers will identify and provide support to vulnerable young women and girls who are experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, gang-related exploitation or abuse.
This abuse could include serious violence, sexual exploitation, assault, peer-on-peer abuse, child criminal exploitation, or any other form of harm arising from exploitation by gangs.
Minister for Safeguarding, Amanda Solloway said:
The impact of gang-related harm on young women and girls should not be underestimated.
Through the Young Women and Girls’ Fund, affected communities will have access to expert support that will protect those vulnerable to exploitation as well as providing vital support to those who have already fallen victim to the actions of these criminal gangs.
Support provided by this fund will depend on the circumstances of the individual in question but may include one-to-one support, targeted group work, and residential trips, as well as work in education settings and with frontline professionals to raise awareness of gang exploitation among young women and girls.
In addition to this fund, twenty Home Office-funded Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) are delivering a range of activities to support young people during the school holidays, when serious violence can often peak. The units, which bring together key local agencies, such as health, education, and policing, run interventions and projects in a bid to keep young people out of dangerous situations on our streets.
Throughout the holidays, Greater Manchester VRU is using real-time data to direct resources to the areas of highest need and pinpointing young people who are on the radar of multiple agencies. A pilot in Salford last summer saw 26 of the 27-strong cohort supported by the programme enter into education, employment, or training by September 2021. Rates of crime and anti-social behaviour also fell significantly. The scheme returns this year, now in all ten local authorities, set to deliver exceptional results on region-wide scale.
Running all year round, the VRUs can provide a stabilising influence in young people’s lives. Combined with targeted enforcement activity, VRUs prevented over 49,000 violent offences in their first two years of activity and supported more than 260,000 vulnerable young people in their second year alone.
The full list of local authorities receiving funding through the Young Women and Girls’ Fund is:
- Barking and Dagenham
- Brighton and Hove
- Milton Keynes