careleaverYouth Access' new project will ensure older teenagers at risk of harm get the help they need. 

A spate of high-profile cases in the news recently has highlighted the widespread abuse and sexual exploitation of vulnerable young people and the failure of the child protection system to protect older teenagers.

To address this, the advice and counselling charity has launched a two-year national project funded by the Department for Education. The Right 2B Safe project will work to support and safeguard vulnerable 13-19 year olds across England and will be delivered in partnership with local, highly regarded Youth Information, Advice and Counselling Services (YIACS).  

Barbara Rayment, Director of Youth Access, said: "The child protection system is failing to protect older teenagers. We believe young people have a right to be safe. There is an important role to be played by voluntary sector advice and counselling agencies that can engage with vulnerable young people on their terms and respond with targeted interventions and a multi-disciplinary approach."

YIACS offer non-stigmatising, accessible drop-in services that often represent the first-line service for young people at risk of harm. The Right 2B Safe project will focus on intervening early on behalf of teenage victims of abuse, neglect, sexual exploitation, self-harm, violence and homelessness.

The project will work in Hampshire, Leeds and Hackney and will develop an evidence base on effective collaboration between the voluntary sector and statutory services.