The Home Office has launched a £13 million fund to help youth workers, police, nurses and other professionals to build closer relationships with children and young people at risk of relationship abuse.
Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, Victoria Atkins, said the Trusted Relationships Fund will invite local authorities to apply for funding to run projects “aimed at fostering relationships between frontline staff and at-risk children”.
The fund will also help young people at risk of sexual exploitation and gang violence.
According to the report, local authorities will be asked to design projects that fit their needs. These could include establishing a safe space where young people can share their concerns with professionals, providing specialist counselling services and delivering positive activities.
The announcement follows a review by the Early Intervention Foundation, which found that a trusted relationship with an adult is an essential part of programmes to support vulnerable children.
Ms Atkins, said: “We all know how valuable it can be for a child to have an adult in their life who they can trust, who they can confide in, who has their best interests at heart and who is in a position to act when they are in trouble.
“Through the Trusted Relationships Fund we want to ensure that those most at risk of abuse and exploitation, such as child sexual exploitation or gang-related exploitation have such a person in their lives.”
Donna Molloy, Director of Dissemination at the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF), added: “In early intervention services, the trust that develops between a skilled practitioner and a parent, child or young person can motivate and equip people to change their lives. The evidence shows that positive relationships can support the development of skills, coping strategies, confidence and behaviour change for children and young people.”