Children as young as 10, and sometimes even younger, are being put in danger by people who take advantage of them. As a Partnership we are committed to safeguarding children from abuse and exploitation.
Child Sexual Exploitation
Child Sexual Exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. Child Sexual Exploitation occurs where an individual or group take 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. CSE does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.
Child Criminal Exploitation
Child criminal exploitation is increasingly used to describe this type of exploitation where children are involved, and is defined as:
Child Criminal Exploitation is common in county lines and 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. The victim may have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears consensual. Child Criminal Exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.
Criminal exploitation of children is broader than just county lines, and includes for instance children forced to work on cannabis farms or to commit theft.
County lines is a major, cross-cutting issue involving drugs, violence, gangs, safeguarding, criminal and sexual exploitation, modern slavery, and missing persons; and the response to tackle it involves the police, the National Crime Agency, a wide range of Government departments, local government agencies and VCS (voluntary and community sector) organisations.
The UK Government defines county lines as:
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”. 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.
County lines activity and the associated violence, drug-dealing and exploitation has a devastating impact on young people, vulnerable adults and local communities.
County Lines 7 Minute Briefing
What to do if you are worried about a child
If you are concerned that a child is being exploited you should refer your concerns to your Line Manager/Designated Safeguarding Lead immediately.
A referral can then be made to Children’s Services. Remember, if your line manager/designated lead is not available please do not delay. Contact children’s services directly.
If you are unsure you could use the Berkshire Child Exploitation Screening Tool.
Pan Berkshire Child Exploitation Indicator and Analysis Tool - July 2019
This tool is for anyone who works with children, including those who work in the voluntary sector. If you are worried that a child may be being exploited, this tool gives you a list of indicators to help you work it out and take appropriate action.
If you are worried that a child is in immediate danger dial 999