Posted: 08 July 2015

Helping London’s children and teenagers at their most vulnerable

This month we are launching our new way of working in London, setting out our new hub of services to tackle the exceptional and growing risks facing London’s children and teenagers.

London has some of the most deprived areas in the country and some of the highest levels of crime. Far from being streetwise and able to protect themselves, older teenagers are more likely to be victims of crime, abuse and neglect.

From our work, we know that problems at home often result in young people running away or going missing. Our research tells us that at least 3,400 young people went missing from 20 London boroughs last year. These young people are at serious risk of harm - they need help and support.

Our research also shows that one in three teenagers in the capital feel unsafe in common public areas such as train and bus stations, with some even feeling unsafe in their home or in a youth club. Too many older teenagers in London are living in fear for their safety and we need to challenge the idea that 16 and 17 year olds don't require as much protection as younger children.

Our work across the capital

We have a long and proud history of working with children and young people at their most vulnerable. The Children’s Society was founded in London in 1881 and since that day our work has grown and developed to encompass a wide range of issues.

Our new network of projects in London brings together the expertise of practitioners to help young people facing issues such as sexual exploitation, trafficking, destitution and going missing from home. We also advocate for some of the most vulnerable young people living in the city, such as refugees and migrants and young people who are disabled.

At our launch event, leading expert Professor Jenny Pearce spoke to attendees about the ways in which services that tackle child sexual exploitation can work to prevent and address the problem in the most effective way.

Campaigning for change

Our work to support vulnerable teenagers is being supported by a new campaign, Seriously Awkward, asking the Government to do more to protect vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds from harm, abuse and neglect.

Please sign our petition today.

By Sherry Peck - Programme staff