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If you suspect a child is at risk of harm, please call The Contact Centre on 01744676767


Children at Risk of Exploitation

Pan Mersey Child Exploitation Protocol - 2020

Child Exploitation comes in many forms: Child Sexual Exploitation, Criminal Exploitation, Radicalisation and Child Trafficking.

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

CSE is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs 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

(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.

Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical  contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.


Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE)

Criminal exploitation involves taking advantage of children and young people and forcing them to engage in various forms of criminal activity such as begging, pick-pocketing, credit card, benefit fraud and, the cultivation of cannabis for drug dealers.

Child Trafficking (MSHT)

Modern Slavery and Child Trafficking are forms of child abuse. Children are recruited, moved or transported and then exploited, forced to work or sold.

County Lines - 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.

For more information on what to do if you suspect a child is being trafficked or used within modern slavery please see the Child Trafficking 7 minute briefing that have clear pathways of information and support


This toolkit has been developed to support frontline practitioners to safeguard children and young people under the age of 18 from sexual and criminal exploitation. This includes social workers, police officers, housing officers, education staff, healthcare staff, charity staff, and others.

Additionally, the toolkit sets out supportive information to assist information sharing and multi-agency working as well as intelligence and evidence gathering and profiling.

Everyone who engages with children has a part to play in tackling child exploitation, not just those with statutory powers. It is important that all those who engage with children recognise and advocate for the use of available statutory powers, even where it may only be police or local authorities who can put them in place.

When using this toolkit, all practitioners should have as their primary focus:

  • the experiences of the victims involved
  • the views of the victims
  • the impact any chosen approach may have on them
  • the risk of further harm to them, possible future victims or the wider community

This toolkit is focused on child exploitation, although some of the tools listed can be used to disrupt exploitation of adults too.

Child Exploitation Appropriate Language Guide 2022

Radicalisation (PREVENT)

The Government's PREVENT Strategy aims to stop people supporting or being drawn into terrorism. It is about ensuring that vulnerable children and adults receive the support they need before vulnerabilities are exploited by those that would want them to embrace terrorism and before they become involved in terrorist related activity

In October the St Helens PREVENT Operational Guidance and Action Plan were approved by the Council's Cabinet. The PREVENT Action Plan identifies training as a priority for the Council and the wider partnership who will provide our local multi-agency response to identified concerns. Training briefings are currently being planned for the Authority and dates will be confirmed in due course.

CHANNEL panels take place on a monthly basis for St Helens wherein vulnerable children and adult referrals can be discussed and appropriate intervention put in place to support them from being drawn into terrorist activity. Attached on the side of this page is the confirmed PREVENT referral pathway for the LA and referral form for use by any professional who wishes to refer in.


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