Children at risk of exploitation includes information on child sexual exploitation, trafficking and or a county lines.
Child sexual exploitation
Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a crime with devastating and long lasting consequences for its victims and their families. The first response to children, and support for them to access help, must be the best it can be from social workers, police, health practitioners and others who work with children and their families.
In February 2017, the government published a new definition of CSE:
‘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.’
This definition must be used from April 2017 onwards.
There is now a new crime of sexual communication with a child.
The Act inserts a new section, 15A, into the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and will help protect children from adults communicating to groom them, as a prelude to carrying out sexual abuse. Scenarios likely to be covered by the offence include talking sexually to a child via a chatroom or sending sexually explicit text messages to a child as well as inviting a child to communicate sexually (irrespective of whether the invitation is itself sexual).
The new offence is designed to ensure that it does not criminalise, for example, ordinary social or educational interactions between children and adults or communications between young people themselves. The offence has a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment.
In cases of suspected or actual child sexual exploitation:
Safeguarding procedures must be implemented and a referral made to social care in order to safeguard them from further or future harm. Further information is available from the Derby City and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children’s Boards, safeguarding procedures.
Operation Liberty has been created by Derbyshire police to gather intelligence items, crimes and referrals, where there is an aspect of child sexual exploitation.
Practitioners can use the Operation Liberty form to provide details, however brief, of any concerns:
- Adults who may pose a risk to, or target, groom or sexually exploit children and young people.
- When you are aware that a child or young person has been groomed and/or sexually exploited.
- To provide information on places, locations and circumstances where you believe CSE may be taking place.
Derbyshire practitioners use a CSE toolkit to assess a child or young person’s level of risk of sexual exploitation in a quick and consistent manner. Children and young people under the age of 18 (Children Act 1989) are considered under the scope of this toolkit.
The toolkit supports the implementation of the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Board (DSCB) procedures; in particular children abused through sexual exploitation, safeguarding children who may have been trafficked and children and families who go missing procedures.
This toolkit will support agencies to:
- Identify and protect those at risk of being sexually exploited at the earliest opportunity.
- Take action to promote the welfare of children and young people who are being or may be sexually exploited.
- Develop local prevention strategies.
- Take action against those intent on abusing and exploiting children and young people in this way.
The toolkit should be used flexibly to take account of each child’s individuality, the uniqueness of their circumstances and the changes that may occur for them over time.
The Derbyshire Safeguarding Childrens Board gives a further explanation into the meaning of CSE along with guidance and help that is available for schools.
In the related documents are a number of posters, leaflets and useful information that schools may find helpful in raising awareness.
Recent activities in Derbyshire schools have reached over 10,000 pupils:
Amongst the recent campaigns in school are:
Alright Charlie - This resource is from The Blast Project (Yorkshire Mesmec) which is designed for use with children aged 9-11 in primary schools and aims to highlight the warning signs of grooming in an age appropriate way. The film is seen through the eyes of Charlie who is groomed by Danny. The resource was designed in consultation with CSE professionals, primary schools teachers and children in years 5 and 6 in primary schools. The resource is accessible to girls and boys with the viewer never discovering Charlie's gender.
Chelsea’s Story is an internationally renowned, hard-hitting drama by the Applied Theatre Production which has proven highly successful in raising awareness around the issues surrounding Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE). The play, which has now been seen by hundreds of professionals and over 700,000 young people throughout the UK, is followed by an actor facilitated post-show talk exploring the issues raised.
It tells the story of a group of three students who discover the diary of a girl called Chelsea. Chelsea was a 15 year old girl who, having fallen out with her friends and family, met a guy called Gary. Gary was kind, understanding, had a nice car, had his own flat and listened to her. Unfortunately Gary was not what he seemed to be. Chelsea's story is played out and examined by the three students who, along with their teacher, attempt to understand what happened to Chelsea and how it could have been prevented.
Kayleighs love story is the case of a 15 year old, Kayleigh Haywood from Leicestershire, who in 2015 accepted a Facebook message from a man she did not know and 2,643 messages and 15 days later was raped, abducted and murdered, the reports of which have been very much in the public media.
Working closely with Kayleigh’s family, Leicestershire police commissioned an independent production company to make a film about how Kayleigh was groomed. They have now offered it to all police forces in the UK.
The intention is for all year 7,8 and 9 to view this as part of a preventative programme to support the work of the Derbyshire police, the Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Board, and you as a school in the drive to educate pupils about the dangers of online grooming and related child abuse.
The sending of a sexual image or sexually explicit image and/or sexually suggestive messages or texts using the internet, messaging apps or live streaming services is known as sexting. As the practice is more common amongst young people, it has become known as youth generated sexual imagery. Young people interpret sexting as writing and sharing explicit images with people they know.
It's very hard to control what happens when a sexual image, sexually explicit image or text is sent and can lead to an image being distributed and harmful situations such as stalking, abuse or blackmail.
A useful guide for schools, Sexting in Schools created by ThinkUKnow, is recommended as reading for schools.
A research document detailing how young people use digital technology in their romantic relationships and love lives called Digital Romance 2017, has been created by ThinkUKnow, this is a highly recommended document for secondary schools and colleges.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
FGM is child abuse and a form of violence against women and girls, it is illegal in the UK. Possible FGM and girls and women at risk of FGM should be dealt with as part of existing structures, policies and procedures on child protection and adult safeguarding. There are, however, particular characteristics of FGM that front-line professionals should be aware of to ensure that they can provide appropriate protection and support to those affected.
Incidents in Derby and Derbyshire are currently low. There is a mandatory duty to report possible FGM and all practitioners including school staff, must have a working knowledge of the signs and symptoms and how to keep children safe from FGM.
All Derbyshire schools and colleges have been issued with a useful flow chart.
The Gov.uk website have produced updated guidance on the law, guidance, resources and signposting which are useful to raise awareness and to dip into for training.
The Derbyshire Children's safeguarding procedures have a relevant chapter to refer to along with additional sources of information.
Further resources available to schools and colleges include:
Consent – Cup of Tea an understanding of what consent means.
Safe and sound fighting CSE - Safe and Sound works to keep children and young people safe and sound from sexual exploitation.
The NSPCC has a number of suitable resources to help raise awareness. Let’s Talk PANTS is a primary school resource that teaches children important messages, like their body belongs to them and they should tell an adult if they're upset or worried.
Barnardos Wud U? App - Teachers and care professionals may interact with young people who might be at risk of sexual exploitation. These professionals might be interested in our award-winning smartphone app, designed to educate young people.
For Me: the Childline app - 'For Me' is the new app that puts Childline in your pocket. It's free, it's secure and it's designed by young people for young people.
Think you Know - The child exploitation and online protection centre has a wealth of information for all ages, parents and for those working with children - supporting all to deliver education and raise awareness of online child exploitation and abuse.
National Working Group - Helping stop child sexual exploitation and providing free web based services and resources for professionals.
CEOP - Child Exploitation Online Protection.
Safer Internet UK - The UK Safer Internet Centre has online safety tips, advice and resources to help children and young people stay safe online.