William Eichler 26 September 2022

Support for county lines victims gets £5m boost

Support for county lines victims gets £5m boost image
Image: chairoij/Shutterstock.com.

Services aimed at supporting victims of county lines gangs received a multi-million-pound bump over the weekend.

Support services in four priority locations – London, West Midlands, Merseyside and Greater Manchester – are set to receive £5m of funding, the Home Office has announced.

The money will help deliver a specialist support service for young people under 25, delivered by the not-for-profit organisation Catch22, which will make contact with young people who have been referred by safeguarding partners.

The service will work with victims to help them exit their involvement in county lines activity. It will also provide mental health support.

Home Office Minister, Jeremy Quin, said: ‘I want victims of exploitation to know that we are on their side – and that there is a way out, a brighter future available.

‘Since 2019, the government’s county lines programme has shut down 2,400 lines, made over 8,000 arrests and engaged more than 9,500 individuals through safeguarding interventions.

‘These services will be relentless in their focus to carve out safe routes home for young people in danger and tear them away from the grip of these merciless county lines gangs, opening up their futures once more.’

Chief Executive Officer at Catch22, Naomi Hulston, said: ‘For children and young people who are victims of county lines activity, the impact on their lives – and the lives of those around them – is devastating.

‘We know that grooming techniques are becoming more advanced and that escaping the clutches of these perpetrators can be incredibly difficult. That’s why as part of this service we’ll not only be bringing young people home safely, we’ll be supporting them to make sure they can process their experiences and are protected from any future harm.’

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