Hertsmere Borough Council
Civic Offices, Elstree Way
Herts WD6 1WA

22 March 2018

ID 5861

For immediate release

Funding to prevent online child abuse

A bid to raise awareness of the risk of child sexual exploitation is one of two innovative initiatives in Hertsmere which have received more than £45,000 of funding.

Hertsmere Community Safety Partnership (Hertsmere CSP), in partnership with, the youth service of national charity Crimestoppers, has secured funding from Hertfordshire's Police and Crime Commissioner's Community Safety Grants to deliver the Be Fearless Against Abuse initiative. The two-year project aims to educate professionals who work with young people on the dangers of online grooming. It will also fund an outreach programme for 11 to 16 year olds in Hertsmere schools to help youngsters learn how to better protect themselves online.

The Be Fearless Against Abuse initiative follows on from a series of e-safety workshops held last year in Hertsmere schools, run by Hertsmere CSP in partnership with Herts Schools Partnership with funding from the PCC.
In addition, funding has been secured for a two-year initiative delivered by Herts Mind Network to provide practical support for victims of crime with drug and alcohol problems and suffering from mental ill-health.
Valerie Kane, Hertsmere Borough Council's Community Safety Manager, said: “We’re delighted that these two very worthwhile projects have been awarded funding for the next two years.

“The all-pervasiveness of social media means that children now spend large amounts of time online, which can put them at risk of abuse.

“While it may not be possible to prevent or limit internet use, it is possible to equip young people with the information and skills they need to navigate that world and stay safe.

“We also want adults to understand the risks, so they can spot the signs that a child they work with or are responsible for may be in danger of becoming a victim or has already been targeted.”

Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd said: “These two grants really support my Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan.

"We’ve seen an increase in reports of offences involving vulnerable victims – such as child abuse. Therefore it is vital that all children are educated about the dangers of online media as much as possible.

“The purpose of the Community Safety Grant is also to put the victim at the centre. Any provision that will help them from being destructive to themselves and indeed others will reduce strain on other services and also make Hertfordshire a safer place to live.”

The Safer Minds initiative will enable a full-time community support worker to be based at the health and wellbeing centre, Number 10, in Leeming Road, Borehamwood, as well as fund outreach support to other parts of the borough.

Ms Kane added: “The Safer Minds initiative is about helping people who are really struggling to cope. The community support worker will work with individuals to develop a support plan that is tailored to their needs in order to prevent problems escalating further and reduce the burden on public services.”

Julie Nicholson, Chief Executive of Herts Mind Network, said: "We're delighted to have the opportunity to work in partnership with the council and other local providers to deliver this much needed project.

"The Safer Minds project will offer intensive one-to-one support to clients but there will be a range of other Mind services also available seven days a week to complement the project."