Next steps if you suspect a child is being exploited

It is important that practitioners are open to the fact that a child cannot consent to their own exploitation and children do not always recognise that they are being exploited.

Children will often not wish to disclose information due to fear of repercussions or of losing the group they belong to and identify with. Many children are groomed prior to the exploitation occurring. If you think a child is being exploited these additional services below, which are specific for Wakefield may be able to offer you guidance through the next steps and ways on how to support the child.

The following services can be used for support and guidance when you suspect Child Exploitation is happening.
  • Children Vulnerable to Exploitation (CVE) Drop In Clinic
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    The Children Vulnerable to Exploitation, (CVE) Team is co-located within the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub, (MASH), based at Havertop Police Station.

    The CVE service ensures a co-ordinated response from West Yorkshire Police and Wakefield Children and Young People’s Social Care to the identification, investigation, and intervention with cases of exploitation, developing effective joint strategies to tackle exploitation throughout the district.

    Early identification of exploitation, (criminal and/or sexual) must remain a key focus, to ensure vulnerable children receive the right help, support, and protection at the right time. A proactive and intelligence led approach is required to identify victims and perpetrators at the earliest opportunity.

    Acknowledging this, a CVE “Clinic” will ensure a multi-agency approach to offering practitioners advice, support, and guidance where exploitation is suspected.

    This will be available to:

    – The Interventions Teams

    – Targeted Early Help

    – Youth Justice

    – Social Workers

    Clinic meeting will be on a monthly basis, on a Friday, with a schedule of meetings to be sent out by the administrator beforehand. The clinic will be scheduled for a total of two hours and no more than six cases will be heard. Practitioners will then be given individual calendar invites, to enable to them to dial in via Teams.

    This is not a panel and there is no paperwork for the practitioner to complete.  This is a forum for practitioners to receive advice and support where exploitation is suspected. This could include, (though is not confined to), the following:

    – Concerns that a young person is vulnerable to exploitation but are difficult to engage.

    – Advice as to whether concerns in respect of exploitation may necessitate a referral to Social Care and subsequently, CVE service

    – Concerns where a young person may be exploiting others.

    – Advice/support on how to engage a young person who may be vulnerable to exploitation.

    Information shared within this forum, will also assist the police/CVE team to triangulate any evidence/intelligence, which may assist in the early identification of perpetrators/victims.

  • Risk Assessment Management (RAM) meetings
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    For children identified as at risk of Criminal/Sexual Exploitation – The Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Meeting (RAM) to review cases open to Wakefield’s Children and Young People Service (CYPS) where a risk of Child Sexual Exploitation/Child Criminal Exploitation (CSE/CCE) and/or Trafficking has been identified.

    The purpose of the RAM is to:

    – Reduce the number of children and young people vulnerable to exploitation.

    – Discuss new referrals made to the Missing and Children Vulnerable to Exploitation Team.

    – Share information collaboratively between agencies to assess the level of risk.

    – Agree the level of risk – i.e., High, Medium, or Low.

    – Cases that are assessed as being low but require intervention will be sign posted to relevant agencies.

    – Upon the identification of risk, agencies will contribute to formulate an action plan to reduce the risks.

    – Plan, monitor and review interventions designed to reduce the risk of harm.

    – Review the risk rating and action plan at least monthly for those cases which have been graded high risk.

    – Review all case prior to discharge from RAM. (Where families have withdrawn consent for intervention, they should still return to RAM for agencies to review).

    – Facilitate direct interventions and promote the safety, protection, health, and well-being of children who are at risk of exploitation.

    – Where a child has an allocated CVE worker a CVE Risk Assessments will be completed, this will be reviewed and updated not exceeding 12 weeks.

    – Identify perpetrators of child exploitation and establish the potential risk they pose to others.

    – Identify links between victims and perpetrators so that mapping can be undertaken.

    – Improve agency accountability and provide a clear audit trail.

    – Improve support for staff involved in cases of child exploitation.

    – Identify trends, resource requirements and gaps in resources and feed these into the MACE group and any other appropriate Panels.

    – Open cases will be reviewed according to level of concerns/risk. High risk cases will be heard at RAM every 4 weeks and medium every 8 weeks regardless on concerns/risk.

  • Partnership Intelligence Portal (PIP)
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    This system and access to it is for authorised partners and organisations to submit information to West Yorkshire Police.

    Criminality hits at the heart of the communities we all serve. Working together in partnership, we need any information you can offer about all levels of criminal activity;

    – What criminal activity is taking place?

    – Who is committing the crime?

    – Who are they targeting?

    – Information about protecting the vulnerable.

    – How are they committing their crimes?

    Information about routine criminality through to serious and organised crime, all is welcome in helping us understand the threat against our communities.

Developed by Wakefield Children and Young People Service’s Missing and Children Vulnerable to Exploitation (CVE) Team

This form allows you to explore some of the vulnerabilities and risk indicators for a child/young person you are working with, who might be at risk of, or be experiencing, exploitation. No checklist can be exhaustive. Please phone the team for a consultation if you have concerns which are not captured here. (01924 303570).

To access the form click here

Additional Resources / Links