Tackling child exploitation is a complex task. There are similarities between different forms of exploitation and the criminal and sexual exploitation of children may overlap. Victims of child exploitation may, at any one time, be subject to both. It is vital that frontline practitioners recognise, and by working together, deploy tactics to disrupt multiple types of exploitation when they occur. Perpetrators of child sexual exploitation (CSE) and child criminal exploitation (CCE) can share patterns of behaviour in respect of coercion, violence, intimidation and the power imbalance inherent in them and many other offences. Similar disruption techniques could be used in relation to CSE, CCE or other offending. However, the circumstances in which the exploitation occurs can demand different approaches. Factors such as the age of victims, the context in which offences occur and the risk they pose, require a range of different tools, deployed tactically by different agencies working together.
This toolkit is primarily aimed at frontline staff working to safeguard children and young people under the age of 18 from sexual and criminal exploitation. This includes law enforcement, social care, housing, education, the voluntary sector and related partner organisations.
It is intended to help all safeguarding partners to understand and access existing legislative opportunities at their disposal and to target specific risks, ranging from warning notices to offence charges and care orders.
While criminal prosecution of child abuse perpetrators may represent the most desired outcome of law enforcement activity, it is not appropriate to leave the protection of vulnerable children and young people to the criminal justice process alone. The use of existing legislative powers, such as orders and injunctions, are an essential part of the safeguarding process and often a critical piece to any future actions.