Barnardo's appointed to run £8m national child sexual abuse centre

By Joe Lepper

| 20 January 2017

Children's charity Barnardo's has been appointed to run the National Centre for Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse being established by government as part of its efforts to tackle child sexual exploitation and abuse, CYP Now can reveal.

The National Centre for Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse forms part of the government's efforts to tackle child sexual exploitation. Picture: Phil Adams/posed by model

The centre, which is backed by £8m in Home Office funding until 2020, aims to gather and share high-quality evidence of successful schemes in preventing child sexual exploitation and abuse.

It will officially launch next week (25 January) at an event in Westminster, with further regional launch events planned in Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Wales throughout February.

The launch comes more than 18 months after plans to launch the centre were first announced in March 2015 as part of the government's child sexual exploitation action plan.

The Home Office has previously been criticised for a lack of progress on delivering the plan. 

The new centre of expertise has been tasked with building partnerships with academics and statutory agencies with the aim of turning evidence into practical solutions for practitioners and commissioners across local authorities, police, health services and the voluntary sector.

It will also aim to increase understanding of child sexual abuse and exploitation, help advise ministers on national policy and assess the extent to which recent policy and practice initiatives have impacted on the scale and nature of abuse.

Barnardo's was handed the contract following a tendering process that closed in June last year. The contract details, published by the Home Office last year, reveal that the centre will have an annual budget of £2m through to the end of March 2020.

Barnardo's is currently on the hunt for a policy adviser to support the centre's work and liaise directly with politicians and key stakeholders.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "The Centre of Expertise will be an authoritative source of information, research, innovation, and best practice on tackling child sexual abuse and forms part of our ongoing work to tackle this heinous crime."

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