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Barnardo’s is the UK’s leading children’s charity. One of its most crucial areas of work is in providing services for young people who have been sexually exploited: from apparently ‘consensual’ relationships and informal exchanges of sex for gifts, accommodation etc., through to serious organised crime.

Barnardo’s aims to identify and support young people at risk of sexual exploitation. Its services provide an environment for young people to get help and support, and offer a range of therapeutic interventions including counselling, group-work sessions and drop-in support. Services also raise awareness of child sexual exploitation in their local areas: working with schools and others to deliver preventative education programmes and providing specialist training to professionals so they know what signs to look out for.

The charity approached Pro Bono Economics for help in looking how at effective these interventions are and the wider impact they may have.

A team from the Bank of England – Greg Thwaites, Amar Radia and Mervyn Tang – looked at the extent to which Barnardo’s interventions reduce the risk of sexual exploitation (and associated risk factors), and estimated the possible savings to the taxpayer resulting from these interventions.

For more information about Barnardo’s and its work, particularly in the area of child sexual exploitation, visit the Barnardo's website.

Barnardo's summary of the work can be found here.

14th September 2011