“National child sexual abuse centre launches evaluation fund”

By Joe Lepper

| 16 June 2017

A national centre established by the government as part of efforts to tackle child sexual exploitation and abuse has launched a fund to give organisations the opportunity to prove the effectiveness of the work they do.

The Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse, which is backed by £8m in Home Office funding until 2020, launched in January with the aim of gathering and sharing high-quality evidence of successful schemes in preventing child sexual exploitation and abuse.

It has now set up an Evaluation Fund, which will issue £250,000 worth of grants, of between £5,000 to £25,000, to organisations across England and Wales to help them evaluate their work.

Among organisations being encouraged to apply are those that provide direct support to victims and those at risk of harm, as well as those running education programmes around abuse and exploitation.

Organisations working with care leavers and young people with learning difficulties - two groups seen as particularly at risk - are also being urged to apply, ahead of the deadline of 7 July.

"There's a need to develop more evidence on what works to tackle child sexual abuse," Cassandra Harrison, the director of the centre said.

"We understand that frontline services tackling child sexual abuse and exploitation can often lack the time and resources to investigate the effectiveness of their work.

"These grants will help services to measure the results of their work with children and young people better. Improving and sharing understanding of what is effective is essential to improving responses and outcomes for children."

The centre is led by Barnardo's and works with organisations including the Local Government Association, the College of Policing and NHS England.

It was launched as part of a £40m package of measures by the Home Office to tackle sexual abuse and child trafficking. This included an additional £20m for the National Crime Agency to target online child abuse and exploitation.