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First ever 'child houses' to support young sex abuse victims to open in London

The project, announced by Home Secretary Amber Rudd, will be led by the London Mayor's Office

Both of the new children's homes will be in London as part of the government funded project

Two 'child houses' set to open in London will be the first safe houses of their kind for young victims of sexual abuse.

In a new £7.2 million project aiming to put victims' needs first, the two houses will give them medical care, allow them to give evidence and get therapeutic support.

Around 200 children will be cared for at the homes annually, which are part of wider plans, including the launch of a sexual exploitation unit to help victims in England and Wales.

The plan, announced by Home Secretary Amber Rudd, will be funded using the Home Office Police Innovation Fund and run by the Mayor's Office for Police and Crime.

Making the announcement on the Andrew Marr show, Amber Rudd said it is 'vital' victims are supported and protected

In a statement, Ms Rudd said: "As we investigate and prosecute these crimes it is vital that victims, who have already suffered in ways most of us could never imagine, are supported and protected throughout the process.

"The Home Office is providing police forces with funding that rewards and incentivises new approaches to police work and drives forward positive change.

"The child houses, by improving evidence gathering while putting the needs of the victim front and centre, demonstrate exactly the kind of innovative thinking that we are encouraging."

A safe space for victims to give evidence

Charities such as the National Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) will be working alongside the Mayor's office, NHS England and the Home Office to deliver the project.

An NSPCC spokesperson said: "To a victim of sexual abuse, a Child’s House could be the difference between moving on with their lives or being emotionally trapped by their ordeal.

"The NSPCC believes a Child’s House could provide a space where children who have experienced abuse can quickly get vital medical and therapeutic support."

They added: "Most importantly, they will offer a place where they can give evidence via video link without having to re-live their experiences in court.

"This is something we have long campaigned for.

"Research carried out last year showed 90% of professionals working with children felt that services to help abused children overcome trauma were inadequate, with many waiting months to get support."

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