Agenda item

Leicestershire's Response to Tackling Child Criminal Exploitation.


The Committee considered a report of the Director of Children and Family Services which provided an overview of the work and progress of the Child Criminal Exploitation, Missing and Modern Slavery Hub. A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item 9’ is filed with these minutes.


In introducing the report, the Director congratulated Ayshea Dalby Team Manager within the Vulnerability Hub at Wigston Police Station who had received a silver award for Team Leader of the Year at a Children’s Services awards evening alongside partner organisations. The Chair offered her congratulations and all members of the Committee to Ayshea and the whole service.


Arising from discussion, the following points were made:


      i.        In response to a question regarding the Department’s strategy for tackling the challenge of an increasing number of children under the age of 11 who had been involved in county lines activity, the Director explained that the department worked closely with head teachers and regional partners to reach children of all ages. Members also noted that theatre productions and training materials on trusted relationships and online danger, which had been used for secondary aged children, were being tailored so that they would be appropriate for primary aged children. The Director explained that the Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) Team and the Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) team worked together to  deal with the separate aspects in such cases and that this approach had been commended by Bedfordshire University.


    ii.        Members noted the Department worked closely with the Police and had two response teams based at Wigston police station to respond to Child Exploitation and Domestic Abuse. The Partnership approach provided a network opportunity and joint risk taking. The Director explained that daily meetings would assess the previous 24 hour period and if a case of child exploitation or a missing child had been reported, a formal meeting would be held to grade the child. If the child had been found to be at high risk, the child would be allocated a police detective, a social worker, and possibly a youth worker, who would deliver support services to the child from initial disclosure to any judicial process and then in recovery.


   iii.        In response to concern regarding the high number of CSE referrals which had been received in quarter 1, the Director explained that many of these children would have been known as a result of early intervention work carried out to identify children at risk of becoming involved in exploitation such as those facing exclusion from school, a child at risk of going into care, vulnerable 16–17-year-olds facing homelessness and first time entrants to having contact with the police. Members noted that the service had reported positive outcomes through delivering this piece of work and would continue to be focussed on inclusion rather than exclusion.


   iv.        Regarding the low number of CSE referrals of children from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds, the Director reported that there had been underreporting from BME communities. The Department had received support from the Police and Crime Commissioner in commissioning work with BME champions to deliver support to communities.


    v.        In response to concern that a significant percentage of CSE referrals were children with some form of disability, or children with an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), the Director explained that in the majority of cases, a perpetrator had targeted a vulnerable child and made an online connection with the intent on exploitation. The Department focussed on early intervention and on providing early support to children at risk of being exploited and would continue to offer support to children and families in making a statement, within a judicial process, and beyond.


   vi.        Members welcomed the child focussed approach adopted by all agencies and the commitment to target and prosecute perpetrators of crime and to safeguard victims of exploitation.


  vii.        The Lead Member for Children and Families highlighted the recent Ofsted visit where the work of the Vulnerability Team had been highly commended.




That the overview of the work and progress of the Child Criminal Exploitation, Missing children and the Modern Slavery Hub be noted.


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