‘Invest in support for child sex victims and save money’

Every pound invested in specialist support for child victims of sexual exploitation saves taxpayers £12, according to a latest Barnardo's report.

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Every pound invested in specialist support for child victims of sexual exploitation saves taxpayers £12, according to a latest Barnardo’s report.

The report by Pro Bono Economics for the charity is based on data from 539 young victims supported by one of Barnardo’s 20 UK specialist child exploitation services.

The research team puts the cost to tax payers, in terms of healthcare, police intervention and problems at school, at £63,508 for each victim who does not receive specialist support.

But through an average investment of £2,918 in specialist support the research team estimates this cost can be reduced to just £28,148, saving the taxpayer £35,360.

Savings are also achieved through a reduced risk of victims going missing or turning to substance abuse.

Anne Marie Carrie, Barnardo’s chief executive, said: “The moral argument for helping girls and boys who are exploited for sex is plain, now we have tangible, economic evidence of the necessity for specialist help too.

She hoped the report would persuade ministers and councils to invest in child exploitation services.

She added: “These figures are especially poignant in the light of increased pressure on public finances and voluntary sector funding. The case has never been clearer; politicians must move quickly to give these vulnerable children the sanctuary they need.”

See practice tool designed to help social workers spot sexual exploitation

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