Cases of possible child exploitation (including sexual and criminal exploitation and county lines) are discussed at the Missing, Slavery, Exploitation and Trafficked Group (MSET) on an monthly basis. MSET is chaired by the police and includes representatives from a wide range of agencies working with children and young people in Gateshead.
MSET also considers young people who go missing (see Missing children and young people)
If you are concerned about a child who has had missing episodes and/or a risk of exploitation use the. There is an initial for practitioners to complete. The should be completed in a multi-agency group, if possible, this is also the MSET referral form.
Child exploitation is child abuse. Any young person can become a victim of exploitation. A lot of young people who are being exploited do not actually see themselves as a victim of abuse.
It is important for everyone to be aware of possible indicators of exploitation. Some of the warning signs are:
- missing from home or care and/or absent from school
- involvement in offending
- drug or alcohol misuse
- repeat STIs, pregnancies and terminations
- poor mental health, self harm and/or thoughts or attempts at suicide
- receipt of gifts from unknown sources
- changes in physical appearance and/or physical injuries
- evidence of sexual bullying and/or vulnerability through the internet and/or social networking sites
- estranged from their family
- recruiting others into exploitative situations
Young people from any background may become victims of exploitation. Typical vulnerability factors in young people prior to abuse are:
- living in a chaotic or dysfunctional household including for example parental substance abuse, domestic violence, criminality
- history of abuse
- recent bereavement or loss
- gang association (either through relatives, peers or intimate relationships)
- learning disabilities
- associating with other young people who are victims of CSE
- uncertainty about their sexual orientation or identity and/or unable to disclose this to their families
- living in residential care
- lack of friends from the same age group
- homeless or living in a hostel, B&B or a foyer
- low self esteem or confidence
We run a specific training courses on safeguarding children and young people from exploitation. More details can be found in our training directory. All of our procedures can be access via Safeguarding Children Procedures Manual.
For more information about county lines - see County Lines
Children go missing from home or care for various reasons, some are often varied and complex, and as well as short-term risks there can be long term implications for these children. For every 'missing episode' the young person will get proper attention from the professionals involved. This includes independent return interviews for any young person who goes missing - for more information see our missing procedure
Gov.UK have statutory guidance on young children who go missing from home or care.
If you are concerned about a child who has had missing episodes and/or a risk of exploitation use the. There is an initial for practitioners to complete.
If you have concerns about a specific young person that you're working with get advice from Children's Social Care. If a child is at immediate risk then you should call the police and/or Children's Social Care - see Report concerns about a child