As part of an effort to address child sexual exploitation and abuse, the Home Office is backing the centre until 2020 following previous criticism for a lack of progress on delivering their action plan. The centre hopes to gather and share high-quality evidence of successful schemes that have previously prevented child sexual exploitation and abuse.
The scheme was launched at an event in Westminster in January, and there will be other events in Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Wales, taking place throughout this month.
Original plans to launch the centre were announced back in March 2015 as part of the government's child exploitation action plan.
Barnardo's has been tasked with building partnerships with academic and statutory agencies with the aim of transforming evidence into practical solutions for practitioners and commissioners. This will stretch across local authorities, police, health services and the voluntary sector.
The child sexual abuse centre will help increase understanding of abuse and exploitation, advising ministers on national policy and assess the extent to which recent policy and practice initiatives have impacted on the scale and nature of abuse.
A Home Office spokesperson commented: “The Centre of Expertise will be an authoritative source of information, research, innovation, and best practice on tackling child sexual abuse and forms part of our ongoing work to tackle this heinous crime.”
Each year through to the end of March 2020, the centre will have a budget of '2 million. Currently Barnardo's is on the hunt for a policy adviser to support the centre's work and liaise with both politicians and key stakeholders.
To learn more about how to identify and help children who are being sexually abused, click here to look at our Awareness of Child and Adult Sexual Exploitation Training