All Age Exploitation

Exploitation, as a form of abuse, is a process which utilises the forging of a relationship, trust and/or emotional connection for the purpose of misusing power and gain for the perpetrator. Exploitation involves being groomed, forced or coerced into doing something that you don’t want to do for someone else’s gain. The victim may be exploited for criminal and/or sexual purposes, it can include forced labour, organ harvesting, domestic servitude, and forced marriage.

Regardless of the type of exploitation, children, their families and adults at risk have a right to be safeguarded from this form of abuse. It is vital that there is collaboration across statutory, private, voluntary and charitable organisations with a clear plan and objectives on how services will work together to support those at risk.


A contextual safeguarding approach

Exploitation happens in places, so we need to make sure our community spaces and environments are safe and interventions to eradicate exploitation consider what we can do contextually.

A contextual safeguarding approach seeks to create a response to extra familial forms of abuse that can:

  • Target the contexts in which that abuse occurs, from assessment through to intervention
  • Provide a framework to address extra-familial risk through the lens of child welfare, as opposed to crime reduction or community safety
  • Utilise partnerships between children’s services and agencies who have a reach into extra-familial contexts (such as transport providers, retailers, youth workers, residents’ associations, parks and recreation services, schools and so on), and;
  • Measure success with reference to the nature of the context in which harm has been occurring, rather than solely focusing on any behaviour changes displayed by young people who were at risk in those contexts.


A trauma informed approach

Exploitation is a traumatising experience for individuals, but its lasting effects are likely to create collective trauma for families, communities and society too. We want to minimise and where possible prevent the re-traumatisation of victims when accessing services which are meant to help them. This is why we are taking a trauma informed approach to tackling exploitation in Cheshire. Trauma-informed practice is an approach to health and care interventions which is grounded Whole society Whole communities Whole family Whole person in the understanding that trauma exposure can impact an individual’s neurological, biological, psychological and social development (Office for Health, Improvement and Disparities, 2022). This approach offers a framework for a common set of values, knowledge and language across services.


Pan-Cheshire approach to tackling Exploitation

Working together to strengthen the visibility, early identification and partnership response to prevent violence, reducing the risk of exploitation and its associated harms.

Where there is exploitation, or the risk of it, is suspected, frontline practitioners should complete the Cheshire Contextual Safeguarding Screening Tool.

If it relates to a child under the age of 18 then – the screening tool should be sent to the Halton’s front door iCART. They will review all information and a multi-agency decision on level risk will be made and actions agreed. If a child has an open case then a request would go to the lead professional to complete the Contextual Safeguarding Assessment tool. If a child is not known a decision on the best placed practitioner to complete the risk assessment tool will be made.

If it relates to an adult aged 18 or more then – report to Halton Adult Social Care Tel 0151 9078306 or complete their online referral form. (worried about an adult link).

If you have concerns about individuals that could be exploiting children or locations where exploitation maybe occurring (be that a physical or online location) then please complete the Contextual Safeguarding Operational Group Information Form.

**Please note that in the ’ subject line’ of your email when sending this form into the [email protected] you must include the following – ‘Halton High’ in the text on that subject line.


Contextual Safeguarding Operational Group (CSOG)

This group brings together practitioners including Practice Leads, Case Managers, Service Managers Children Services, Police Criminal Exploitation/CSE and PVP Officers, Police OCG Officers, Education Officers and Health Workers-Safeguarding. Leads share information and risk analysis on identified cases to identify connectivity, themes and trends to enable the group to identify further action that could be undertaken. The work / responsibility of this group does not replace the role of the child protection conference or core group process and procedure. It can add value and make recommendations for consideration.


National Resources

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