We all have a responsibility to protect children and young people.If you work or come into contact with young people, whether in an employed or voluntary capacity, then you have a duty of care towards them. You may be working in a leisure centre, a library, a sports club or a GP surgery.
You have a responsibility to understand what child exploitation is, spot the warning signs and know how and where to report concerns. It can affect any child, at any time, regardless of their gender, home life, religion or ethnic background. Offenders are not just adult males. Women can also commit acts of exploitation, as can other children. If we all know the signs to look out for and how to report concerns, together, we can stop child exploitation happening in Warwickshire
What are the warning signs?
- Skipping school, coming home late or staying out overnight without explanation
- Appearing frightened
- Sharp changes in mood - being more aggressive towards others
- Carrying weapons
- Having unexplained money or gifts
- Physical signs of abuse e.g. bruises or cigarette burns
- Having an older boyfriend or girlfriend
- Surrounded by or forming relationships with older people
- Under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
- Displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviour, such as over-familiarity with strangers or dressing in a sexualised manner
- Dirty clothes/poor hygiene
- Disengaging from family, friends and other support networks
- Self harm, such as cutting or eating disorders or low self-esteem
- Becoming secretive, always tired or sleeping at unusual times
- Drop in school performance
If you see something that's not right, report it.
As a professional, if you have concerns that a child or young person is at risk of or is experiencing exploitation you must make a referral to Warwickshire's Children's Services in line with Warwickshire's Inter-agency Safeguarding Procedures. You can also call the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub on 01926 414144.
Below are some tips to help when making a referral:
- Read Warwickshire's Inter-agency Safeguarding Procedures for Child Sexual Exploitation and Child Exploitation and use similar language in your referral
- Be clear that your concern is about child exploitation
Complete and send in the Child Exploitation Assessment Framework with the referral that identifies the signs and vulnerability factors that indicate the young person is at risk or being exploited
Request a Multi-Agency Child Exploitation (MACE) meeting to discuss the risks for the child or young person
- If you have concerns about a child or young person being at risk of immediate danger, contact the police on 999
- If you have received information about exploitation that is not a referral of concern for a young person, complete a Warwickshire Police CSE Information Sharing form
Warwickshire Multi-Agency Exploitation, Missing & Trafficking Team offer FREE Child Exploitation Awareness training for all services across Warwickshire.
The sessions are delivered by specialist Barnardo’s Project Workers and will support staff to identify and respond appropriately to concerns relating to child exploitation. The training can be tailored to suit your staff and it can also be delivered virtually, directly at your workplace or venue of your choice.
The training will cover:
- 1.5 hour targeted Child Exploitation briefing
- 2 hour interactive Child Exploitation Workshop
- 3 hour - ½ day Child Exploitation Level 3 Training
Child exploitation is happening in Warwickshire so it's important for all services to understand it and recognise the signs. For more information or to book onto a course, contact Rebecca Weaver, Barnardo's Advanced CSE Practitioner by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 07925 895047.
Barnardo's also offer the following FREE webinars for professionals and services:
Child Exploitation (CE) Awareness – 60 mins – A short sample session to understand what Child Exploitation (CSE, CCE, County Lines, Child Trafficking) is and the different ways it can happen, how Covid-19 has impacted on CE, understanding your responsibilities around sharing information about a child at risk and learning more about victim blaming language.
Digital Dangers – 75 mins – This webinar is a short introductory session to online exploitation. The session will help you to understand more about the digital dangers of social media and gaming platforms, understanding the online grooming process, learning how Covid-19 has impacted online exploitation, how children may be targeted online and your responsibilities around sharing information about a child who is at risk of or is being abused.
Child Trafficking and Sharing Intelligence – 60 mins – A short sample session to understand what child trafficking is and how it occurs, how to respond to and report cases of child trafficking (National Referral Mechanism), understanding your responsibilities around sharing information about children and young people at risk of going missing, and how to report relevant intelligence in to Warwickshire Police.
The Referral Process and how Barnardo's work with young people – 60 mins – A short sample session to understand the referral process for Child Exploitation for both statutory and Barnardo's support, how Covid-19 has impacted on referrals, understanding your responsibilities around information sharing, understanding more about trauma-informed practice when working with young people and reflecting on our use of language and addressing victim blaming.
Victim Blaming; Language Matters – 60 mins - A short sample session looking at how the language Barnardo's staff use as professionals can have a significant, and potentially lifelong, impact on victims of exploitation. A victim of exploitation is never to blame for the abuse they have lived through, yet we live in times when victims are still being blamed. This webinar will discuss victim-blaming language, increase awareness on the subject and look at how we as professionals can accurately and sensitively record and report on victim experiences.
These webinars are free of charge and accessible for any agency that works with children and young people in any capacity within Warwickshire. Each webinar will be held via Microsoft Teams. If you have any questions or wish to book on to any of the webinars please email Rebecca.email@example.com. You will then receive a list of the available session dates/times for your requested topics. You will receive an email confirmation once your booking has been made and your teams invite will follow. If you are booking on behalf of multiple people, please include each person’s name and email address to be able to complete the booking successfully.