Posted: 02 July 2015

Luke's story: Something isn't quite right

The most vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds are falling through the cracks between childhood and adulthood, simply because of their age. Our Seriously Awkward campaign aims to change that.

Join us in calling on the Government to change the law to protect 16 and 17 year olds from abuse, harm and neglect.

Sign our petition

Luke needs support

When Luke was ten, his mum died due to alcohol abuse.

At this time, his father, who also was also seriously ill with alcohol issues, went into rehab so the support from social workers stopped. 

When he was 15, Luke started taking 'legal highs' and became involved in theft from shops.

Luke started going missing. There were concerns he was being sexually exploited, as he stayed at risky addresses and slept over with adults known to be of concern. 

By 16, he was going missing more and more frequently. The police were frustrated as Luke was now too old for a harbouring notice* to try and tackle the overnight missing episodes.

Now that he is 17, children’s social care plan to close the case. Luke will be moved to the ‘16plus team’ and placed in an independent living project – despite his support worker’s growing concerns that this will only create a riskier lifestyle and more dangers for Luke. 

We want to make sure 16 and 17 year olds like Luke are fully protected, rather than being let down when they need support most, left to fall between the cracks of childhood and adulthood. That’s why we have launched our Seriously Awkward campaign to improve protections and services for the most vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds. It might be an awkward age but it shouldn't be seriously awkward.

* A harbouring notice can be used to prevent an exploitative adult from contacting a child

Sign our petition

We need your help now to call on the Government to change the law to protect 16 and 17 year olds from harm, abuse and neglect.

By Andy Soar