Sexually exploited children in Rotherham are to get £3.1m support boost to help them rebuild their lives.
The money, announced today, will fund of a team of 15 specialist Barnardo’s workers that will support victims of child sexual exploitation in the town for the next three years.
The move follows last year’s report by Professor Alexis Jay, which uncovered 16 years of sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013, and estimated that 1,400 children had been victims of such abuse.
The support package has been put together by Rotherham Council, the KPMG Foundation, the Department for Education, Barnardo’s and the Communities and Local Government Department.
The team will help victims rebuild their lives, support them through the criminal justice system, and proactively look for young people who are victims of or at risk of sexual exploitation.
There will also be preventative education programmes delivered by working closely with schools, families and local communities.
Councillor Chris Read, the leader of Rotherham Council, “We know from Professor Jay’s findings and from what victims and survivors have told us that projects like this can make a real difference, reaching out to young people who might be at risk, building trust and supporting those who may become victims.”
Read praised Ian Thomas, the council’s director of children’s services, for securing the “innovative project” in Rotherham.
Javed Khan, chief executive of Barnardo’s, said the children’s charity will bring all of its combined expertise and experience to deliver the specialist service.
“We must all become alert to spotting the signs that sexual exploitation may be taking place as a matter of urgency,” he said. “It is everyone’s responsibility to protect those girls and boys who are most vulnerable from ruthless predators.”