Stabbed teen among 200 helped by service to stop child exploitation

Young person with head in hands

Two hundred young people have been helped by Norfolk County Council's Targeted Youth Support Service. PICTURE POSED BY MODEL - Credit: PA

A teenager stabbed multiple times and a schoolgirl coerced into sending online images are among 200 young people helped by a specialist service to stop child exploitation.

Young people say Norfolk County Council's £1m service, which has just marked its first anniversary, has helped them overcome issues.

The Targeted Youth Support Service sees youth workers helping young people who are at risk of criminal or sexual exploitation outside the home.

It helped 200 youngsters in its first year. Among them is Daniel *, who had been stabbed multiple times and beaten in an assault.

The service has provided him with support around building peer relationships, conflict resolution and knife awareness.

He was helped to get to college, supported to create a CV and had the opportunity to talk about relationships and other matters important to him.

His risk of exploitation has reduced from high to medium and he said: “I see a future for myself. I plan to carry on at college and I’ve got a part time job.”

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The service has reduced risks for 74pc of the young people it has worked with in its first year.

Another is Ali*, who was lonely and isolated and spent time talking online to older people she did not know.

She was asked to send pictures and videos and felt she had to comply.

After support from the service, she said: “I feel happy, confident and stronger.

"I feel if I was asked to send inappropriate pictures or if a stranger added me, I feel I could tell my dad, my youth worker or any teacher at school."

Daniel Elmer. Conservative councillor for Catton Grove. Pic: Norfolk Conservatives.

Daniel Elmer, deputy cabinet member for children’s services at Conservative-controlled Norfolk County Council - Credit: Norfolk Conservatives

Daniel Elmer, deputy cabinet member for children’s services at Conservative-controlled Norfolk County Council, said: “It is great to see the early success of our targeted youth support service.

"Young people involved in county lines or sexual exploitation are victims of crime and they need our support to keep themselves safe and to build positive relationships.

"There is always hope for young people who are targeted in this way and our youth workers are doing some fantastic work in raising aspirations, reducing risk and improving the life chances of some of our most vulnerable young people.”

* The young people's names have been changed.