Warrington Safeguarding Children Board together with Cheshire East; Cheshire West and Chester and Halton Safeguarding Children Board’s have developed a Pan Cheshire Protocol on how agencies should work together when dealing with children and young people who have been or are at risk of criminal exploitation.
There is increasing complexity in the risks of exploitation to children and young people in our communities, alongside the requirement for all professionals to remain confident in our need to identify, assess and respond to their need to be safeguarded. In response to the growing profile of child abuse that covers criminal as well as sexual exploitation, the PAN Cheshire strategic group have reviewed the current screening tool for CSE and updated it.
This single Child Exploitation tool should be used in any instance where you are concerned that a child is being exploited, through sexual or criminal means. The tool should help you to identify and evaluate the cause of your concerns and reflect on whether further safeguarding investigations are needed. The tool can be used with parents, young people and other professional.
Cheshire Constabulary with other partners have created a website ‘Know and See’ for young people which gives advice about identifying the signs of abuse. Information leaflets and a poster created by Know and See for you to download and print off are available in the links section of this page.
Home Office publishes updated guidance to help frontline workers identify and protect victims of county lines gangs
County lines refers to a model used by criminal gangs, whereby urban gangs supply drugs to suburban areas and market and coastal towns. These gangs frequently exploit children and vulnerable adults to courier drugs and money. Some vulnerable adults have their homes taken over by the gangs (cuckooing) using force or coercion.
To support policing and other statutory frontline staff – particularly those who work with children, young people and vulnerable adults – in identifying potential victims of this type of criminal exploitation, the Home Office has updated its County Lines guidance. It sets out the signs to look for in potential victims, and what action staff should take so that potential victims get the support and help they need. The document supplements an organisation’s existing safeguarding policies. The guidance is available here: https://tinyurl.com/y8fzxunt
Alongside the guidance, there are resources (available here: https://tinyurl.com/y9kku2es) to help policing and statutory staff recognise the signs to look out for, that could indicate that someone is a victim of county lines gangs.
The Home Office is also raising awareness of county lines across a range of non-statutory sectors. These are:
- Private security sector: https://tinyurl.com/y9mtk5oe
- Licensed taxi and private hire company staff: https://tinyurl.com/y8kgcgul
- Bus and coach company staff: https://tinyurl.com/ycu7b9ac
- Train operating company staff: https://tinyurl.com/y85reurc and,
- Private landlords and letting agents: https://tinyurl.com/y8t8fsgj
Materials for the social housing sector are currently being developed and will be available shortly. Finally, we have also produced social media assets (available here: https://tinyurl.com/y93xnot3) which we encourage PCCs to use in their own public-facing county lines awareness raising work.