Child Exploitation

Children and young people may be vulnerable to exploitation from within their family and from individuals they come across in their day-to-day lives. These threats can take a variety of different forms, including parents or carers encouraging children to sell drugs and other commodities for financial gain or exploitation by criminal gangs and organised crime groups; trafficking; online abuse; sexual exploitation and the influences of extremism leading to radicalisation.

Children who are exploited can be vulnerable because of chaotic or traumatic experiences in their lives, making them targets for perpetrators, gangs and networks. However, it can happen to anyone and perpetrators use a variety of means to coerce & control their victims. Children do not sometimes realise or feel that they are being exploited.

Definition of Child Sexual Exploitation

Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.(DfE 2017).

Definition of Child Criminal Exploitation

Child Criminal Exploitation occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of a person under the age of 18 and may coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under that age into any activity (a) In exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) For the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator and/or (c) Through violence or the threat of violence. The victim may be exploited even if the activity appears consensual (i.e. moving drugs or the proceeds of drugs from one place to another). Child Criminal Exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology. (Home Office 2018)

Pan-Cheshire approach to tackling Child Exploitation

Halton adopts a Contextual Safeguarding approach to practice and this is supported at a Pan Cheshire level. As a result some titles on existing documentation have changed such as the Child Exploitation Screening and Assessment Tool which are now referred to as Contextual Safeguarding Screening and Assessment Tools.

Where child exploitation, or the risk of it, is suspected, frontline practitioners should complete the Pan Cheshire Contextual Safeguarding Screening Tool. 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 the child is an open case then a request would go to the lead professional to complete the Contextual Safeguarding Assessment tool. If the child is not known a decision on the best placed practitioner to complete the risk assessment tool will be made.

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

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. This 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.

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