London’s VRU to fund Is This Ok?

London’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has funded the digital support service Is This OK?, as they partner with Missing People to support young people at risk of exploitation.

The partnership with the charity will ensure the Is This OK? service will offer free and confidential support to young people aged 13- 18 across the capital, via an online chatbot and one-to-one chat with trained support workers. Funding from London’s VRU means that young Londoners who are worried about something that’s happening to them can access the one-to-one chat service 7 days a week from 4pm -11pm daily, with the chatbot and online guidance available 24/7.

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The Is This OK? chatbot was developed by Reason Digital, working alongside young people to ensure the service meets their needs. Is This OK? Offers a uniquely confidential and anonymous space for young people to share what is going on for them- which has been developed with young people at every stage.

Funding from London’s VRU will help continue the necessary work being done by the charity to combat the increase in the exploitation of young people and children.

“We firmly believe that violence is preventable, not inevitable. London’s VRU is committed to working with Missing People and frontline practitioners to ensure that young people can access a safe space through the chatbot Is This OK? to further tackle exploitation. It’s crucial that we’re able to provide clear and accessible support for young people and communities when they need it most.” Lib Peck, Director of London’s Violence Reduction Unit

Research has shown an increase in young adults and children being exploited due to financial difficulties at home, as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite across the country. Funding from the VRU will ensure  Londoners will have access to the chatbot 7 days a week from 4pm – 11pm daily.

Support for social workers

Social workers and others who work with young people, including staff in schools, sexual health clinics and youth clubs in the London area, will be offered information and are encouraged to talk to their students and children they work with, about Is This Ok?

“We are truly grateful for the funding from London’s Violence Reduction Unit as it ensures our young people have a safe space to ask those difficult questions, giving us an insight into the turmoil that young people and children are faced with. This safe, secure, and confidential platform gives our young people a safe space to speak about and get support on the terribly difficult issues they are faced with.” – Jo Youle, CEO of Missing People

Missing People’s, Sara Rowbotham OBE, the sexual health worker who famously exposed a child sexual exploitation ring in Rochdale, and Susannah Drury, the Director of Policy and Research at Missing People, have been instrumental in driving forward the use of the chatbot at Missing People.

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