Published Date: 17 July 2012
South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust (SWLSTG) and Barnardo's have helped to safeguard 48 vulnerable young people and raised awareness of sexual exploitation with 170 professionals in the first year of the South West London Child Exploitation Service.
The South West London Child Sexual Exploitation Service based at Richmond Royal Hospital is run jointly by SWLSTG and Barnardo's, the UKs largest children's charity, to help children and young people who are involved in or at risk of sexual exploitation.
The South West London Child Sexual Exploitation Service does outreach work across Richmond, Merton, Wandsworth, Sutton, Kingston, Hounslow and Croydon, and provides access to mental health services to vulnerable children if they have mental health problems or have been misusing drugs.
It also offers support to parents and carers as well as advice, consultancy and training sessions to police, social care, health sector and youth offending service professionals.
Peter Nash, Assistant Service Director in Specialist Services, said:
"We are extremely proud that the South West London Sexual Exploitation Service has reached out to so many young people in its first year.
"Children and young people are often reluctant to attend mental health services. At the South West London, Child Sexual Exploitation Service, Barnardo's provides the initial point of access and deals with sexual exploitation issues, while we offer the specialist mental health support that some children may need."
Barnardo's have warned that internal trafficking of UK children to London for sexual exploitation is set to increase during the 2012 Olympic Games and are calling on people to be extra vigilant.
Child sexual exploitation can involve a broad range of activity from seemingly 'consensual' relationships or informal exchanges of sex for attention, accommodation, gifts or cigarettes through to very serious organised crime. Sexually exploited children will present with a number of mental health issues, including eating disorders, self harm, and substance misuse.
More details about the South West London Child Exploitation Service are available on our website.
For more details on Barnardo's and their warning on the 2012 Olympics visit www.barnardos.org.uk