A district council has been awarded government funding to provide further support for young women and girls at risk of exploitation.  

Cherwell District Council (CDC) has been successful in its funding bid to take on a dedicated worker hosted by Oxfordshire Youth - an organisation that supports young people in the county - who will work to support young women and girls who are at risk of gang-related exploitation.

Richard Webb, assistant director, regulatory services and community safety at Cherwell District council, said: “Gang-related exploitation of women and girls could be county drugs lines or similar.

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“There’s a very clear need for more support in this area, and it’s additional support given some of the work the county’s youth justice exploitation services already do with young people at risk of exploitation.

“Oxfordshire Youth are currently recruiting for this new support role, and we’re pleased this additional capacity should be in place shortly.”

The funds for this additional support came from the Home Office’s Young Women and Girls Fund (YWGF).

The purpose of the YWGF is not only to improve services to young women and girls suffering gang related harm, but also to focus on understanding the specific and gendered risks that this poses.

The fund aims to ensure women and girls are able to access tailored, dedicated support.

The Home Office is seeking to award grant funding of up to £2.74 million over a three-year period in the 20 police force areas that account for 80 per cent of serious violence in England and Wales.

CDC has also been successful in a bid made jointly with the police and crime commissioner for a grant from the Home Office’s Safer Streets fund.

This enabled CDC to engage three charities to provide an offer to schools in and around Banbury for a dedicated programme that aims to empower young people to challenge negative gender perceptions, attitudes and behaviours.

Mr Webb added: “This programme is about trying to promote positive gender-based attitudes and perceptions.

“It recognises in particular that there’s growing problems with gender-based attitudes in young people, fuelled by social media, that then leads into negative behaviour in adult life.

“This is known to be a cause of violence against women and girls, so we want to try and stem those behaviours early; promoting positive attitudes.”

Mr Webb added that though this programmes lends itself to gender-based changes, the scheme generally aims to improve relations between pupils and reduce harmful attitudes.

Some of these school programmes are being delivered now and some will start after the easter term.


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1