The lives of hundreds of vulnerable girls and young women affected by gang violence are being transformed by a Home Office-backed project.
During the past 12 months, the Safer London Foundation has supported around 500 young women in London at risk of or involved in gang activity as part of its Empower programme.
Four Young People’s Advocates, who cover the boroughs of Hackney, Haringey, Islington, Enfield, Camden and Croydon, provide direct support to young women who have been victims or are at risk of sexual violence by gangs.
The advocates are funded by the Home Office, which is investing £360,000 in the Safer London Foundation as part of £1.2 million across the country over 3 years. The investment is part of the government’s Ending Gang and Youth Violence programme.
Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker visited the Safer London Foundation to see the success of the Empower project and speak to people involved in this work.
Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said:
The coalition government is leading ground breaking work with partners to support women and girls whose lives have been blighted by violence and sexual abuse at the hands of gangs.
The Safer London Foundation’s Empower programme is a powerful force for good, helping those at risk move away from gang activity.
These issues are being tackled for the first time and, while there is much still to do, schemes such as Empower are producing life-changing results for many young women.
On a visit to the charity’s headquarters in Southwark yesterday (Wednesday, 16 April), the minister met one of the Young People’s Advocates employed by the Safer London Foundation.
He also spoke to young women with a history of gang association about how Safer London had supported them.
Safer London Foundation Chief Executive Rena Sodhi said:
We are delighted that Norman Baker MP has taken time to visit our Empower project. Here at the Safer London Foundation we are immensely grateful to the Home Office for funding this vital work for young people in the capital.
Projects such as ours need to be available for the many young women with complex needs who require specialist support.
The work the Young People’s Advocates are doing is making a huge difference for many young people across London who are in dire need of our support.