NVR Voices: ‘This would be the best gift ever…’

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“Back in October 2014 I had written an email requesting the law to be changed tailored for Young People Exploited to Traffic Class A Drugs as they repeatedly go missing.

I had submitted my campaign as a coping mechanism to a contact in the Home Office and to the Director of Safeguarding for Child Exploitation but it’s never been acknowledged.

There was a debate introduced by Chuka Umunna (MP for Streatham) and focused on gangs and youth violence.

I did a presentation with the Missing People charity working in partnership with Catch 22 – Her Royal Highness is a patron for Catch 22 and was present on this day, sitting in the front row.  The parent that they were referring too in the debate, was me – and they quoted from my testimony.

Ann Coffey’s debate that mentions our work, as I’m a volunteer for the Missing Peoples charity where I was interviewed regarding a research in partnership with catch 22 is here.  Ann Coffey’s debate said:

‘Missing People has been working with a mother whose son started going missing aged 13/1/4 and was being groomed by a gang to sell drugs away from home in a county lines operation.

The mother was desperate not to lose her son to that and always reported it every time he went missing. It took her six months to receive any support from services.  How can that be right?

The boy repeatedly went missing for periods ranging from overnight to up to three months. He ended up being taken into care and had numerous distance placements.

We need a response to county lines that ensures that children are found, safeguarded and supported out of gangs, and that the adults who groom and manipulate them are punished to the full extent of the law. Until then, it will continue to be the young victims who are blamed and punished, as their abusers and puppet masters continue with a trade that nets them thousands of pounds a day’.

My taste for actively resisting has been tenfold, as things I believe cannot go on like this anymore.  I have fought with professionals, authorities and the biggest of all the existing ‘Non Relating to Exploitation’ of this kind ‘LAW’.

The icing on the cake was this message that I received recently:

‘Dear Parent,

Thank you for sharing your story with me and details of what you have previously sent to the Home Office. I’ve read it all with great interest.

We are planning a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults which involves MPs and Peers from different political parties.

The meeting will be on the links between young people going missing and gangs, and is likely to focus on what actions statutory agencies and the government are taking to tackle this problem, showcasing good practice in tackling the issue.

We are at the early stages of planning the meeting, my colleague will be liaising with Ann Coffey’s office about how they would like the meeting to run and who should be invited/what the focus should be.’

To my amazement I will be invited to speak at the meeting to represent the families that are affected by this issue.

It’s all coming together, even if there isn’t anything significantly done for now the main thing is my concern and a cry for help has now been acknowledged with the view of a change in the law.

A very happy ‘Parent B’, London

October 2016

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