Safeguarding children and young people from sexual exploitation has been a key priority for the LSCB for a number of years and is linked to key areas of business for 2014-2017.
Cases of possible Child Sexual Exploitation are discussed at the LSCB Missing, Sexually Exploited and Trafficked Sub Group (MSET) on an monthly basis.
On 1 July 2017 we updated our CSE risk assessment and monitoring framework for practitioners to complete when they're worried about a young person. There is now an initial stage 1 screening tool for practitioners to complete and a stage 2 assessment which should be completed in a multi-agency group and is also the MSET referral form
We revised our CSE strategy in May 2015 to simplify it and bring it in line with ACPO and Northumbria Police strategies. The strategy is driven by the local delivery plan, which is reviewed and updated regularly by our Strategic CSE and Trafficking Sub Group and shared with our neighbouring LSCBs at the LSCB Sub-regional CSE Group, which is chaired by Northumbria Police.
The Gateshead LSCB Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) procedures and risk assessment toolkit can be found in our Inter-Agency Child Protection Procedures. We also run a specific training course on safeguarding children and young people from CSE and also an e-learning session. More details can be found in our training directory.
Child Sexual Exploitation is child abuse. Any young person can become a victim of sexual exploitaiton and a lot of young people who are being exploited do not actually see themselves as a victim of abuse. The lists below are not exhaustive, but contain warning signs and typical vulnerability factors.
It is important for everyone to be aware of possible indicators of exploitation. The list below is not exhaustive, but contains warning signs that give an indication that further investigation may be necessary:
- Missing from home or care and/or absent from school
- Involvement in offending
- Drug or alcohol misuse
- Repeat STIs, pregnancies & terminations
- Poor mental health, self harm and/or thoughts or attemps 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
The following are typical vulnerability factors in young people prior to abuse - remember though that young people from any background may become victims of sexual exploitation
- Living in a chaotic or dysfunctional household (including parental substance abuse, domestic violence, criminality etc.)
- 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
The LSCB has a sub group which deals with cases where practitioners are concerned that a young person is being exploitated. If you would like to refer a young person to the LSCB Missing, Sexually Exploited and Trafficked Group(MSET) for discussion use the CSE framework
If you have concerns about a specific young person that you're working with then you can seek advice from Children's Social Care or our SCARPA Project Worker. If a child is at immediate risk then you should call the police and/or Children's Social Care.
Our CSE conference took place on 20 October 2015 at Gateshead Academy for Sport. We hosted the event jointly with Sunderland & South Tyneside LSCBs and Northumbria Police and the Police & Crime Commissioner. The event was really well attended, with almost 500 frontline practitioners and managers in the audience for presentations from local and national speakers and also some of our young people.