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Young Girls Targeted For Sex At Homeless Complex, It Is Claimed

Thursday December 12 2013




VULNERABLE young girls have been targeted for sex by drug pushers at a homeless complex.

A key worker at The Forge, on Smithies Lane, which houses and supports young single people aged 16 to 24, said she's 'concerned' about the vulnerability of some of the residents.

The building, staffed 24 hours a day, is run by South Yorkshire Housing Association and has seven bedsits and ten self-contained flats for homeless young adults and those in priority need.

The woman, who does not want to be named, is employed to befriend the residents, sort out benefits and help with appointments.

She said police have been called out 15 times in the last eight weeks to attend incidents and believes some young people are being wrongly placed at The Forge and should be better assessed before being housed there.

"The majority of residents are easy targets for drug pushers and those looking for sex," she said.

"There are people coming here and bringing alcohol and drugs, and are targeting vulnerable young girls for sex."

DCI Mark Wilkie is not aware of young girls being targeted for sex but did say police are often called there for other matters.

"Whenever you get places like The Forge there will always be a higher than average number of police incidents because you get people reported missing from places like that," he said.

"Some people in there have got problems and a lot of it revolves around drugs.

"We do get called down there but a lot of the time it's because people are missing from home.

"When we do attend it's because of calls we have received from staff there."

DCI Wilkie said the police are in talks with The Forge's management to see how any problems can be alleviated.

"We're all singing from the same hymn sheet," he added. "We're all trying to improve the people down there and to protect them from harm."

A spokeswoman for South Yorkshire Housing Association said the safeguarding of vulnerable people is paramount to the organisation.

She said: "Our priority is to ensure the young people living in our accommodation are protected at all times, and any concerns about behaviour or activity that may be harmful to the people we work with, are taken very seriously and acted upon.

"Any evidence brought to light that indicates the safeguarding of young people is threatened in any way, will be dealt with swiftly and in partnership with our local contacts at Barnsley Council and South Yorkshire Police."

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Reply Posted by anom on Thursday December 12 2013 at 10:18
The best thing they can do is shut the place down they cause a lot of trouble hanging around outside at all hours drinking n sitting in the bus stop near it. On several occasions i have had people run out of that building and across the road in front of my car. And as for the drug pushing do they not know how to say no to someone ?

Reply Posted by LV on Thursday December 12 2013 at 14:23
shut it down, let these young people (some of which are there through no fault of their own) sit it out on the street, starving and freezing, just so you don't have to put up with a few youngsters running across the road.

This establishment has helped HUNDREDS of young, vulnerable people back on their feet!! Some of them are there because of unfortunate decisions on their part, but that's the reason these establishments exist, to help people get turned around!

If you're so bothered by people running into the road find an alternative route you selfish person!!

Reply Posted by Anom on Thursday December 12 2013 at 10:29
I have been through the homeless section numerous hostels and b&bs in sheffield. I had no family support I was a very little fish in a big pond situations arise and unless I have been in the situation off these places the police or no one for that matter will understand there a a lot of ppl in these place with nothing no self esteem or confidence they find it in a bottle sometimes just like I did , the penny dropped with me and now I'm back in Barnsley and with the most wonderful women and step daughter and expecting my blood child only a select few come out of the otherside not everyone but jus remember there's ppl that want help but find it hard to ask for it and then there's evil ppl that take advantage of there situation so before anyone can pass judgement go live on one of them places and see

Reply Posted by Jim on Thursday December 12 2013 at 13:13
What is a drug pusher ?

Reply Posted by paul on Thursday December 12 2013 at 14:51
my son was assaulted by some of young so called men that are living there all because they had been drining the staff have no control at all

Reply Posted by lauren on Thursday December 12 2013 at 16:03
I was there when I was 16 am 25 now if it wasn't for Wayne who originally owned it I would still be sleepin at side ov McDonald's bins they helped get a flat helped me out when I found out I was pregnant they even provide 2 meals a day breakfast n tea n for the people who lives in the flats connected to the main building they get meal delivered to them on a weekly basis so don't go puttin the forge down it's the people who r Livin there that give it a bad name I lived there n I was happy it's same wi Holden house that's really really bad but what u need is proper security n jus electric key locks

Reply Posted by lauren on Thursday December 12 2013 at 16:04
Ment to: N not jus electric key locks on the doors

Reply Posted by F on Friday December 13 2013 at 01:00
Negative attitudes towards projects like The Forge just show us how uneducated and small minded people are. Homelessness is a fact, it is not going to go away and what many people forget is that it can happen to anyone at any life stage. A large number of young adults that live in projects like The Forge end up there mainly due to experiencing a breakdown in their family unit NOT BY CHOICE!!!! Unfortunately drugs, sex and violence exist all over the world and it may be far worse if we did not have projects in our communities like The Forge. The Key workers that work alongside these young adults are amazing people, you are doing a fantastic job. To the person that says shut the place down, they cant say no to drugs, sick of people running out in the road etc...... I will say this to you. Try and imagine that you are a young 16 year old that is not getting on with your parents, you have nowhere to go, you are lonely, you are vulnerable,your role models have gone and you are thrust into an environment with a bunch of strangers. There is a strong possibility that you may loose your way temporarily. Hopefully these issues will be resolved quickly and I am sure The Forge is doing everything it can to safeguard the young people and protect everyone involved.

Reply Posted by ann on Friday December 13 2013 at 06:19
I agree with anor my daughter can not get nothing no house and really no help she as done her time and her crime and doing her best now and still getting no where so why not give people what is trying thy best


Reply Posted by gem on Monday December 16 2013 at 08:51
I lived her not long after it opened yes there was all-out partys etc but we were young. I never lived in the bed sit s went straight in a flat. It wasn't any fault o mine I was there as I had come through the care system from being young and it was semi independent. Just remember these people may not want to be there but have no were else.

Reply Posted by L on Monday December 16 2013 at 08:55
Wow some of the comments reaally!
To the poster talking about them running infront of your car, get a grip man, you drive through Kendray at tea time and you will encounter 20 youngsters running around and across the roads, this happens everywhere.
To the poster who's son got beat up, do you think only homeless people can be violent? Wait untill he is out drinking on a weekend!
In reality projects like this save lives, it can mean the difference of being at rock bottom all their lives or turning their life around and coming out the other side, I once knew a person who had to use these services, she is now a trained youth social worker who now helps the very person she once was, DO NOT TAR EVERYONE WITH THE SAME BRUSH, there are vile people in all walks of life.

Reply Posted by aaron davis on Monday December 16 2013 at 09:13
I use. Live there and it a night Mare because staff don'. Know wot to do there got no control.they should shut the place down and homeless should get there fingers out of there are and help.a.lot more instead putting people.in places like that