Karen Bradley visits the Safer London Foundation
The Minister for the Prevention of Exploitation and Abuse learned about the charity's work to tackle gang-related sexual exploitation.
She heard about the work of the Young People’s Advocates, a group of professionals who provide specialist support to vulnerable young women who are victims or at risk of gang-related sexual violence. The Home Office-funded advocates also work with the police, schools and social, health and youth justice services to ensure they understand the risks faced by girls and young women.
The minister also met with Safer London Youth Ambassadors and heard about how the charity works with young men to help them understand sexual consent and change their attitudes towards girls and women.
Minister for the Prevention of Exploitation and Abuse, Karen Bradley said:
Gang and youth violence is not an issue that any one agency or government department can tackle alone. It requires the police, teachers, social workers, housing officers, youth workers, employment advisers and many others working together, sharing information, safeguarding vulnerable young people and targeting the most violent.
Charities such as the Safer London Foundation are leading work to support women and girls whose lives have been blighted by violence and sexual abuse at the hands of gangs.
CEO of Safer London Foundation Claire Hubberstey, said:
It is essential for us to work in partnership with government to ensure that the voices of young people who are being abused and exploited are heard, and that public policy and service provision are designed in response to their needs.
We were honoured to share with the minister our experience of what works in preventing and reducing the victimisation of children and young people.
The Home Office updated the definition of a gang under the Serious Crime Act 2015 legislation to reflect changes in the way that gangs operate, removing references to names and colours and making the links to serious and organised crime clearer.