This report explores how girls and young women are becoming at risk of violence and harm, the
impact of gangs, how they can be protected, and how they can be supported to succeed.
The Commission on Young Lives and the Manchester Metropolitan University’s Manchester Centre for Youth Studies have recently published a joint report, Keeping Girls and Young Women Safe: Protecting and supporting girls and young women at risk of exploitation, violence, gangs and harm.
The report estimates there are tens of thousands of girls in England who are vulnerable to serious violence and that many of these girls are likely to also be at risk of sexual or criminal exploitation. It says that behind closed doors there are many vulnerable girls and young women in England who are being groomed into holding weapons or drugs for boys, young men, or gangs, and who are victims of sexual assault, rape, and violent relationships. They are living with extreme risks, and their life chances are being diminished as a result.
The report warns that Covid has worsened many of these risks, yet the support systems to divert and protect girls and young women have not received the same level of attention as those for boys and young men at risk of county lines and serious violence. The number of girls and young women referred to services provided by Redthread, a charity which empowers children and young people to break free from cycles of violence and exploitation, in London, Birmingham, and Nottingham have doubled since Covid.