Success for scheme set up to protect against child sexual exploitation

A three year project to help child sexual exploitation in Rotherham has been largely successful, councillors have been told, though those behind the work accept it has failed to reach some minority communities in the town.

Wednesday, 6th March 2019, 2:35 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th March 2019, 2:38 pm
Rotherham Town Hall
Rotherham Town Hall

The Barnardos ReachOut programme is now using funds drawn from within the charity to establish why that is, with the expectation of another colleague being employed to help support that work.

Sheffield University has also become involved and will be helping to draw up a questionnaire which, it is hoped, will help establish why victims from, particularly, the Muslim community do not take steps to seek support.

It is hoped the work will help to guide Barnardos staff and clarify they are addressing that community in the most effective way.

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The ReachOut work team have now had contact with more than 10,000 people across Rotherham, to spread information aimed at preventing CSE and have used a ‘three strand’ approach, which has involved outreach work on the streets and in parks, education work which has seen all secondary schools take part and around half of the town’s primaries, along with targeted support for those needing assistance.

Councillors have been told the ReachOut work has evolved as the work has progressed and is now regarded as a positive model for safeguarding the community.

In future it will also be expanded to help protect those at risk from ‘county lines’ abuse and who might also get drawn into the world of criminal gangs.

Details of ReachOut’s progress was presented to Rotherham Council’s Improving Lives select commission, and chairman Coun Victoria Cusworth said: “The committee is satisfied it is a very positive report.”

“It appears to be a really good model, the three strand approach.

“It is very refreshing to see the amount of work that has been done,” she said.