The 2018 Social Worker of the Year awards took place in London on Friday 30th November. Entries for this year's awards open on Wednesday 3rd April. #SWA19

Sexual Exploitation Hub, Newcastle City Council

Team of the Year, Adult Services



Newcastle council's sexual exploitation hub, established in 2015, is the first of its kind in the way it addresses sexual exploitation seamlessly for both children and adults.


The multi-agency team, including adults' and children's social workers, voluntary, community and health sector members and police, works with many people who fall outside the remit of mainstream services, including individuals who are hard to engage with. Its original members all remain in post, with a strong team ethos as well as access to psychological support helping to sustain their commitment to challenging roles.


Safeguarding people – many of whom have experienced appalling abuse – and helping them move on are the hub's primary objectives. But it has also offered crucial support to those pursuing justice through the court system. The hub has worked with several hundred children, young people and adults, and 82 convictions of sexual exploitation perpetrators have been achieved with its assistance. As a result of the hub's work, local awareness of sexual exploitation has risen. Staff have developed policy, procedures and tools for working in the area, as well as speaking at a regional and national events.


The judging panel described the service as "a national beacon of best-practice".


What was said about the Sexual Exploitation Hub:


“This team is the first of its kind nationally to address sexual exploitation of adults, and making it of equal relevance to adults as children.” Natalie Valios, Content Editor (Adults), Community Care


“This is a national beacon of best practice. A gold standard service, developing tools, showcasing what they are doing at a national level and developing best practice models.” Ruth Smith, Publisher, Community Care


“The team have continued to be there for the victims under the most difficult of circumstances showing empathy, patience and understanding. Small steps, a brew. A text. A phone call. A friendly face. The staff are there for the people they support no matter what, yet still manage to retain that professional distance.” Linda Gray, Service Manager – Safeguarding Adults, Newcastle 


“Thank you for helping me get through yesterday and all of the support before, that means a hell of a lot to me. I couldn't have done it without you, you’re amazing." Service user feedback



  • Ali Bulman, Independent
  • Natalie Valios, Community Care
  • Ruth Smith, Community Care



  • AMHP Team, Northumberland County Council
  • Essex Mental Health Family Group Conferencing Service, Essex Partnership NHS Mental Health Trust
  • Hospital to Home, Derby City Council - SILVER AWARD WINNER
  • Langdon Forensic Social Work Team, Devon County Council with Devon Partnership NHS Trust
  • Sexual Exploitation Hub, Newcastle City Council - GOLD AWARD WINNER
  • West Somerset Community ASC Team, Somerset County Council