Next project to protect children set to launch in London

  • Date: 10/05/2018
  • In: UK

Railway Children has confirmed the launch of its second project working directly with vulnerable children and it will be based in London. The first one, in Manchester, has been hugely successful and has dealt with hundreds of referrals from British Transport Police – each one an incident involving a child at risk.

Some were lost or running away, had mental health issues or were being lured to meet a potential predator.

In every case our family workers Liz Gibbons and Andrea Westhead have looked at how best they can help and what they can do to support each child. In the year that it has been running, they have offered information, advice, guidance and one-to-one support to children and families.

Liz said: “By spending time with these young people before things go that far we can often stop situations getting worse. We make contact with the children referred to us and talk to them and their families about what’s going on.

“We’ve spent a lot of time with a 16-year-old girl who came here as a refugee having witnessed atrocities and experienced huge trauma. She got to know a young man in London who she kept going to meet on the train. She said she was in love with him but her parents saw her coming home with bruises and were worried about possible grooming.”

After regular visits and work to build up her self-esteem, she had realised he did not respect her and coming to that decision may well have saved that girl from so much future abuse and danger.

“That’s what makes it all worthwhile.”

Another girl the team have worked with is Emma, a 14-year-old girl who was found at the station having been reported missing. Her dad had a problem with drugs and she had run away from home and school saying she was scared and being bullied.

But Emma was in real danger hanging around at the station on her own where predators and abusers are often on the lookout for vulnerable targets.

We have been working with Emma and her family to make sure the relationships between them are stronger and safer and Emma doesn’t want to run away again.