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New Safe Steps service supports girls at risk

£1m project will protect girls from exploitation

St Christopher’s has secured £1.19 million to develop services to help vulnerable girls at risk of child sexual exploitation.

The Department for Education has awarded the money from its Innovation Fund for a pilot project following a bid from St Christopher’s.

The project, called St Christopher’s Safe Steps, will focus on helping girls in children’s homes learn skills to keep themselves safe from exploitation. It will also look at ways to protect them at times when they may be at higher risk of abuse.

St Christopher’s will open two children’s homes, one in North London and one in West London, which will look after a total of nine girls.

Children’s Minister Edward Timpson said: “Having worked for 10 years as a family barrister, I know only too well that personalised, dedicated support can play a hugely important role in helping children and young people suffering from abuse, gang involvement or substance misuse turn their back on destructive behaviour and get their lives back on track.

“This new service will make sure that troubled teens in London get the help they need, when they need it most, and I’m looking forward to working with St Christopher’s Fellowship on this innovative venture.”

Jonathan Farrow, Chief Executive, said: “Child sexual exploitation devastates young lives. It is important that every possible option to protect those at risk is explored.

“I am delighted that the Department for Education has agreed to support our pilot project.”