Organisations that support young people who have been victims of sexual violence or exploitation invited to get funding amounting to £1.2m.
The new money, announced in the ‘ending gang and youth violence report’ , will be used to help support ‘young people’s advocates’. They will support victims of rape and sexual abuse, and work with vulnerable young people at risk of being targeted by gangs, as well as providing a vital link between existing services.
At a visit to Lilian Baylis School, Kennington on 9 February, Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone took part in a discussion about sex and gang violence with a group of year 10 girls run by the Growing against Gangs and Violence project.
The Minister and students heard how girls can be used in gangs as casual sexual partners, or ‘links’, or be forced to carry weapons and drugs.
Hidden for too long
Speaking at the school, the Minister said violence against girls in gangs had remained hidden for too long: “We are determined to take action to raise awareness, provide skilled and sensitive support to victims and work to prevent it happening in the first place”, she said.
Thirteen new young people’s advocates, working in areas most affected by gangs, will be in place by summer 2012.