Barnardo’s awarded funding to work with sexually abused boys

Charity will developed project to improve responses to CSE involving boys

Published on 23rd September 2017

The Home Office has awarded a grant to Barnardo’s to enable the charity to develop ways of supporting boys who are being sexually abused or exploited.

The grant will allow the children’s charity to work with at risk boys and young men to identify ways they fall into abuse and help them recover from abusive experiences. The charity fears almost a third of exploitation cases are male.

Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan, said: “We welcome this funding which will enable Barnardo’s to develop a greater understanding of the assessment and support required for boys and young men with a background of sexual abuse and trauma.

“Barnardo’s has identified that young male victims of sexual abuse are under-represented in services supporting abuse victims, whilst over represented within the criminal justice system. An early experience of sexual abuse can lead boys to getting involved in risky behaviour and exploitation. This work will help vulnerable boys and young men get the support they need, when they need it,” he added.

A report by Barnardo’s Cymru last year showed that boys who become victims of sexual exploitation often miss out on help because they are unlikely to talk about their experiences. While professionals are often skilled at spotting symptoms of abuse among girls, boys can slip through the net as negative behaviour is often put down to “boys being boys” rather than a response to trauma.  It called for more training for professionals and more information for boys at risk.

Boys are becoming increasingly at risk of online grooming as they get caught up in social media sites and online gaming. As vulnerable boys move into adolescence they can be prone to mental health problems, substance misuse, homelessness and offending behaviour. They can also become loners. All are factors which can increase the risk of child sexual exploitation (CSE).

The funding will allow Barnardo’s project workers to explore how best to identify CSE among young men, assess and provide the support they need and protect boys from further harm by identifying gaps in services and ensuring a more effective response from agencies.

The grant is for £184,873 and will fund a project which will run until the end of March 2018 will cover the Police and Crime Commissioners’ areas for West Midlands, West Mercia, Warwickshire and Avon and Somerset South Wales, North Wales, Dyfed and Gwent.

Barnardo’s will work with the Youth Justice Board, Youth Offending Teams and the male sexual exploitation project BLAST.


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