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Barnardo’s receives Home Office grant to help sexually abused boys

Release Date: 22 Sep 2017

Barnardo’s has been awarded a Home Office grant to develop ways of supporting boys and young men in England and Wales who have been sexually abused and exploited.

The grant will allow the UK’s leading children’s charity to work with at risk boys and young men to identify ways they fall into abuse and help them recover from abusive experiences.

The project which will run until the end of March 2018 will cover the Police and Crime Commissioners’ areas for West Midlands, West Mercia, Warwickshire and Avon and Somerset South Wales, North Wales, Dyfed and Gwent.

Barnardo’s believes almost a third of exploitation cases are male and that online dangers are increasing as boys and young men get caught up in social media sites and online gaming.

As vulnerable boys move into adolescence they can be prone to mental health problems, substance misuse, homelessness and offending behaviour. They can also become loners. All are factors which can increase the risk of child sexual exploitation (CSE).

The funding will allow Barnardo’s project workers to explore how best to identify CSE among young men, assess and provide the support they need and protect boys from further harm by identifying gaps in services and ensuring a more effective response from agencies. They will work with the Youth Justice Board and Youth Offending Teams.

Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan, said:

We welcome this funding which will enable Barnardo’s to develop a greater understanding of the assessment and support required for boys and young men with a background of sexual abuse and trauma.

Barnardo’s has identified that young male victims of sexual abuse are under-represented in services supporting abuse victims, whilst over represented within the criminal justice system.

An early experience of sexual abuse can lead boys to getting involved in risky behaviour and exploitation. This work will help vulnerable boys and young men get the support they need, when they need it.  

The £184,873 grant follows extensive research, including a report carried out by Barnardo’s Cymru last year, which shows that boys who become victims of sexual exploitation often miss out on help because they are unlikely to talk about their experiences.

The report said that while professionals are often skilled at spotting symptoms of abuse among girls, boys can slip through the net as negative behaviour is often put down to “boys being boys” rather than a response to trauma. It called for more training for professionals and more information for boys at risk.

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