What is Contextual Safeguarding and Serious and Organised Crime?
Contextual Safeguarding - is an approach to understanding, and responding to, children (those under the age of 18 yrs) and young adult’s experience of significant harm that lies outside their families. Contextual safeguarding includes child sexual exploitation, missing children, gangs, county lines, radicalisation, modern slavery and all forms of criminal exploitation. There are clear links across these areas.
Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It can occur where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator.
Child criminal exploitation 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:
- in exchange for something the victim needs or wants.
- for the financial or other advantage of the perpetrator or facilitator.
- through violence or the threat of violence.
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. The criminal exploitation of children is not confined to 'county lines' but can also include other forms of criminal activity such as theft, acquisitive crime, knife crimes and other forms of criminality.
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 adults at risk of harm to move and store the drugs and money and they will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons.
Serious and Organised Crime – People who have worked together for an extended period of time to plan co-ordinate and conduct serious crime. More often than mot these people are motivated to commit serious crime by the potential of financial gain.
What are we doing as a Partnership?
Cheshire East Safeguarding Children Partnership (CESCP) - Cheshire East Safeguarding Children’s Partnership (CESCP) have worked TOGETHER to provide this strategy which outlines our approach to protecting children, adults and communities from exploitation and serious and organised crime across Cheshire East. This is a complex area of risk that requires the partnership, agencies and stakeholders within Cheshire East, to have clear objectives with measurable outcomes to demonstrate the IMPACT we are having on improving the lives of children, adults and communities from the effects of exploitation and organised crime. The specific deliverables within this strategy and supporting actions will allow the Cheshire East partnerships to respond to the full range of serious and organised crime threats and thus make Contextual Safeguarding and Serious Organised Crime (CS / SOC) ‘Everybody’s Business’.
Here is a link to the Contextual Safeguarding and Serious and Organised Crime Strategy - Cheshire East Contextual Safeguarding Strategy (MS Word, 116KB)
Objective 1 – Prevent
To preventchildren, adults and communities experiencing or continuing to experience, exploitation, harm and abuse by ensuring effective awareness-raising and preventative work is in place across the locality, staff benefit from quality learning and development opportunities and that there is an effective response to information and intelligence, that identifies individuals, groups or locations of concern, and highlights patterns or trends.
Objective 2 – Prepare
To develop a comprehensive and accurate intelligence picture which will inform local partnership understanding of context, and locations of concern to enable swift coordinated multi-agency responses to safeguard children, adults and communities and prevent, divert or prosecute those who seek to facilitate and /or perpetrate exploitation, abuse and harm.
Objective 3 – Protect
To develop effective child / person centred practice and service provision, to protect children, adults and communities, and ensure positive outcomes for all, whilst empowering individuals to build resilient communities.
Objective 4 – Pursue
Use information intelligently to assess and intervene with contexts and groups, to safeguard children, adults and communities and prosecute those who seek to facilitate and /or perpetrate exploitation, abuse and harm; ensuring that a holistic, person-centred approach, from intervention to where necessary prosecution, is adopted and employed.
What do I do now?
Where child exploitation, or the risk of it, is suspected, frontline practitioners should use the (Child Exploitation Pre-Tool screening(MS Word, 132KB)) to determine if a full Child Exploitation Screening Tool is required - assessment(MS Word, 394KB).
Whilst understanding and responding to the risk has different elements for this group of young people, our responsibilities to safeguard them have not changed and we should always follow child protection procedures. Also please consider using the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) which is a a framework for identifying and supporting victims of human trafficking or modern slavery, which includes internal trafficking and exploitation by county lines gangs.
If you have any suspicion about behaviours or activities you have witnessed for instance, if you have seen children in gangs where there are older people or they are travelling unaccompanied late at night, your information could help police to gather the type of intelligence which supports their investigations into unsafe and criminal activity. Please report what you know or have seen here: report intelligence to the police.
Cheshire East Contextual Safeguarding Steering Group (MS Word, 148KB)
Cheshire East Contextual Safeguarding Strategy (MS Word, 116KB)
Contextual Safeguarding Strategy 7 Minute Brief (PDF, 450KB)
Improving multi-agency partnerships
Multi-agency Practice Principles for responding to child exploitation and extrafamilial harm (PDF, 1MB)
Safeguarding Young People beyond the Family Home – Responding to Extra-Familial Risks and Harms | Bristol University Press (bristoluniversitypressdigital.com)
Appropriate Language in Relation to Child Exploitation - Guidance for Professionals (PDF, 500KB)