‘Life-changing’ support for girls in abusive relationships with gang members

A women’s aid charity facing a surge in cases of young girls exploited by gang members can offer ‘life-changing’ support thanks to new funding.

Havering Women’s Aid, which runs two refuges and services in the community, has seen a steep rise in referrals of girls trapped in unhealthy relationships with members of criminal gangs who often come from outside the borough.

The £127,500 funding from City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, will enable a specialist advisor to offer one-on-one practical and emotional support to help young women escape the cycle of abuse.

The charity has in recent years seen an increasing need for its help due to pressure on public services, while demand has risen further as a result of domestic tensions caused by the coronavirus lockdown.

“It’s shocking to hear of ever more cases of young girls trapped in controlling and abusive relationship with gang members who attempt to manipulate, exploit and control them and cajole them into criminal activity such as hiding weapons. This funding will enable Havering Women’s Aid to provide dedicated support to these vulnerable young people at a time when it’s needed most, as the charity has seen its already mounting workload increase further during the lockdown.”

Dhruv Patel, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee

The full article is available on the City Matters website.

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