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Child Exploitation

Birmingham Safeguarding Children Partnership

What is Criminal Exploitation?

Child criminal exploitation ( CCE) occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into any criminal activity:

CCE is not defined in law but is a term that has come to be associated with ‘county lines’.

County lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs into one or more importing areas [within the UK], using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of ‘deal line’. This can also happen in borough. They are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults to move and store the drugs and money and they will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons.

What is Child Sexual Exploitation?

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse. When a child or young person is exploited they’re given things like gifts, drugs, money, status and affection, in exchange for performing sexual activities. Children and young people are often tricked into believing they’re in a loving and consensual relationship. This is called grooming. They may trust their abuser and not understand that they’re being abused.

Visit the NSPCC website for more information.

EMPOWER U Exploitation and Missing Hub Service

The Birmingham Safeguarding Children Partnership supports the Child Exploitation Regional Screening Tool. The screening tool includes both criminal exploitation and child sexual exploitation and is available to all practitioners working with children and young people.

When completing the screening tool, practitioners are asked to take into consideration Right Help, Right TimeWorking Together to Safeguard Children 2023 and Keeping Children Safe in Education. Both the latter documents specifically refer to the broader issues around exploitation and taking a contextual safeguarding approach.

The combined CSE and CE procedures has brought together two separate procedures into one and looks to ensure that practitioners and wider agencies are aware of the referral process and underlying principles within the EMPOWER U hub. This document should be read in conjunction with the Hub service offer and the Local Partnership Delivery Groups (LPDG) processes.

Partners will problem-solve the issue and decide what action is needed, this could include:

  • Disruption of perpetrators
  • Relevant safeguarding in line with the Children Act 1989
  • Relevant Orders/warning letters/ injunctions or it could be a household and therefore we could look at action by the landlord, warning/eviction etc.
  • Added engagement

See Me, Hear Me Campaign

The See Me Here Me Campaign was launched in June 2014, by Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall, Coventry, Birmingham and Solihull Councils along with West Midlands Police and other partners, to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation.

The Campaign follows the development of the See Me Hear Me framework, which sets out how agencies across the West Midlands work together to prevent, respond to and support victims.

The framework was developed by the seven councils, West Midlands Police and partner organisations, including Barnardos and PACE and is based on recommendations from the Office of the Children’s Commissioner.