To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of encouraging youth work as a mechanism to help reduce the risk of child exploitation.
19 November 2021
Child exploitation has a devastating impact on victims, families and the wider community, and this government is committed to tackling it. My officials engage regularly with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and we work together to ensure young people – including those at risk of exploitation - can access youth services.
In addition, the Home Office funds a range of targeted activity which seeks to support young people at risk of, or involved in, exploitation. This includes:
- £35.5m for Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) which bring together local partners to tackle the drivers of serious violence in their area. Where exploitation is identified as a local concern, VRUs deliver a range of interventions, including detached youth work and targeted mentoring schemes, to those most at risk.
- £200m over 10 years through the Youth Endowment Fund to test what works in preventing young people becoming involved in violence. The Fund evaluates a range of activity, including some youth work programmes, to identify the best-evidenced interventions.
- £20m for new early intervention programmes that will help stop young people from being drawn into violence, including cognitive behavioural therapy, family therapy, as well as specialist support in crisis moments such as when a person is admitted to A&E with a knife injury.
- £13.2m over four years for the Trusted Relationships Fund, which is testing innovative approaches to tackling vulnerability among young people at risk of exploitation. The Fund aims to build resilience to harm through fostering healthy, trusting relationships with responsible adults, using a variety of methods, including one to one support, community group work and detached youth work.
- £1m of specialist support to under 25s from London, the West Midlands and Merseyside who are criminally exploited through county lines, to help them safely reduce and exit their involvement.
We are also working specifically with young women and girls through our £435k Young People’s Advocate fund, which provides one-to-one support to young women and girls at risk of or experiencing all forms of exploitation by gangs. More widely, the Home Office are providing £43m this financial year to tackle violence against women and girls, including through frontline support with young victims.