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Lessons learned – child sexual exploitation. Sue.jago@beds.ac.uk. Headlines last week. practitioners did not take ‘positive action’ lack of understanding by practitioners of protocols and procedures information not shared systematic failures highlighted

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headlines last week

Headlines last week

practitioners did not take ‘positive action’

lack of understanding by practitioners of protocols and procedures

information not shared

systematic failures highlighted

need for an overhaul of working procedures, especially to identify victims and the risks they face


Recent cases including Operation RetrieverDerby Serious Case ReviewWhat’s Going On to safeguard children and young people from sexual exploitation?

research report

Research report

themed findings on the implementation of the 2009 government guidance

recommendations for action to improve implementation

signposting to resources

a self assessment checklist

A data monitoring tool

A newsletter, What’s Going On?, to inform on research, policy and practice

lscb coordination

LSCB coordination

it is not enough for one or two agencies to work hard “within their own sphere” Derby SCR BD09

only a quarter of the country working to a current CSE protocol

less than a third of the country has a sub group addressing CSE

joint working

Joint working

not seen as an LSCB responsibility

not a priority

over-reliance on ‘champions’ or specialist projects

not recognising value of voluntary sector

struggling to draw in all relevant agencies

structures/procedures geared towards familial abuse

poor partnership working

lscb coordination1

LSCB coordination

Positive results

implementing the guidance - specific protocol, driven by a multi-agency sub group

involvement of senior managers from all relevant agencies […] coordinated via the LSCB

roles and responsibilities of all agencies […] clearly set out and understood, in particular between voluntary and statutory agencies

a mix of specialist workers in a co-located unit

identifying child sexual exploitation

Identifying child sexual exploitation

universal services – health and education – missed early signs of concern; when I was at school they didn’t have a clue, nobody asked me what was wrong

little evidence of agencies working together to coordinate actions and create a comprehensive picture of [the young victims’] lives

the older they get the more complex issues become and the judgement about capacity [to consent] as they head towards being an adult, society tends to discard it: “ they chose to get in the car, its their fault”

identifying child sexual exploitation1

Identifying child sexual exploitation

less than half the country is raising awareness with young people

even fewer with parents/carers

training for practitioners is piecemeal and variable

identifying child sexual exploitation2

Identifying child sexual exploitation

not recognising the ‘signs, or misreading the ‘signs’

- a failure to understand the impact of coercion by the abusers on their behaviour and to assess their capacity to make informed choices, particularly in older teenagers

limited understanding of the patterns of exploitation - not recognising exploitation involving boys and young men, and young people in BME communities

The potential for poor outcomes increases significantly when intervention does not take place at an early stage

identifying child sexual exploitation3

Identifying child sexual exploitation

Positive results

raising awareness of how exploitation takes place

staff in all agencies need to be better trained and equipped to deal with CSE, covering risk indicators and consent issues

scoping the issues locally

linking CSE strategy with associated issues

missing from home/care

gang violence

domestic abuse

co-locating specialist workers

supporting young people and their parents

Supporting young people and their parents

staff did not recognise the significance of their behaviour in terms of abuse and they were dealt with as ‘rebellious adolescents’

I feel that sometimes there’s an approach and if that doesn’t work it’s the young person’s fault. If you can’t get through one way, you need to be always looking for things that young people are going to latch on to

the most important thing is the relationship, the trust

supporting young people and their parents1

Supporting young people and their parents

fewer than half of interviewees had an information sharing protocol

only just over a third reported that a therapeutic intervention was available

fewer than half reported that family support was available

fewer than half reported that a health intervention was available

supporting young people and their parents2

Supporting young people and their parents

child protection thresholds impede early intervention

focus is on younger children in the home

sexually exploited young people seen as ‘hard to reach ’

lack of specialist staff

family support not widely available; parents often excluded

difficulties with accessing services, especially CAMHS

a lack of ‘safe’ accommodation

supporting and protecting young people and their parents
Supporting and protecting young people and their parents

Positive results

early intervention to address known concerns

  • a child-centred approach
  • involving young people and parents in decision making
  • specialist workers delivering flexible and innovative interventions
  • accessible to all, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity
  • a focus on ‘moving on’
  • a co-located service
disrupting and prosecuting abusers

Disrupting and prosecuting abusers

if the police come in like they do, rushing in with their attitudes, the girls won’t sit down and talk to them. But if they gave the girls a bit more time to help them then maybe they’d do a bit better

these girls have had the most horrendous time in court, it has been horrific, it’s abusive…nobody wants to tackle that

disrupting and prosecuting abusers1

Disrupting and prosecuting abusers

fewer than half reported a police operation in the last year

fewer than a quarter reported prosecutions in the last year

disrupting and prosecuting abusers2
Disrupting and prosecuting abusers
  • reluctance of young people to disclose
  • confusion over information, intelligence and evidence
  • tension between investigation and safeguarding – the implications of covert policing techniques were not fully understood
  • need for more informed/earlier involvement of the CPS
  • lack of support for young people before, during

and after criminal proceedings

  • intolerable experiences for young victims in court
disrupting and prosecuting abusers3

Disrupting and prosecuting abusers

identifying and tackling ‘hotspots’

training on how to report incidents

an agreed process for information sharing across agencies

a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of all agencies and the involvement of all agencies at the earliest possible stage

a consideration of resources needed

a comprehensive multi-agency contingency plan

collecting and managing data

Collecting and managing data

there is masses of information but no one has the time to record it. It needs managing properly and it needs an analyst

we have adopted the trial documentation as our local data collection tool but at present our numbers remain low […] we need to do more to raise awareness of signs and symptoms

it [data collection trial] has given us a lot of valuable information on child sexual exploitation

collecting and managing data1

Collecting and managing data

1065 young people on one day were receiving support in England in relation to child sexual exploitation

this represents responses from just 33 agencies in England

collecting and managing data2

Collecting and managing data

over half of LSCBs surveyed did not record data

fewer than half of interviewees reported that data was collected in their own agencies

in only one interview area was data collected

at both agency and LSCB level,

using a shared database

collecting and managing data3

Collecting and managing data

child sexual exploitation is not identified – so no data

data held

not identified as relating to child sexual exploitation

in files, meeting notes and other records

no collation, no analysis, no understanding of needs

collecting and managing data4

Collecting and managing data

Positive results

Consistent use of data monitoring tool, using data to:

identify local needs and trends

to raise awareness

to make a case for resources locally

to target resources locally


all LSCBs to use data monitoring tool

an annual national data collection (CEOP)


An over-arching conceptual shift in child protection

  • recognise child sexual exploitation as a form of child abuse
  • extend the remit of child protection so that the safeguarding needs of older children with multiple vulnerabilities are addressed
local recommendations
Local recommendations
  • LSCBs to implement the 2009 guidance
  • All LSCB Chairs and Directors of Children’s Services to receive CSE training
  • LSCBs to work towards having a co-located team
  • LSCBs to use self assessment checklist
  • LSCB inspections to include progress on the dual aim of a child sexual exploitation strategy
national recommendations

National recommendations

all pre and post qualifying training for professionals working with young people to include child sexual exploitation

an assessment of the availability and appropriateness of accommodation for children at risk of / who have experienced sexual exploitation

a review of child friendly justice

what s going on to safeguard children and young people from sexual exploitation

What’s Going On to safeguard children and young people from sexual exploitation?

Full report available from www.beds.ac.uk/research/iasr