Welcome to our second ALNS safeguarding bulletin where we are hoping to share with you the latest knowledge, tips and support services for various issues in order that we can work together to keep your children safe. Each bulletin will focus on a different area of safeguarding.
Key Focus - CHILD CRIMINAL EXPLOITATION
Child Criminal Exploitation – children who are trafficked, exploited or co-erced in criminal activity.
County lines – drug dealers in major cities establish networks to supply drugs to users in towns and rural areas. “County lines” refers to the phone lines used
Key terms you might hear:
Going OT/Cunch/Country – travelling to another city to deal
CCE – online safety
The grooming of both boys and girls (for sex usually) starts with a friend request and it is highly organised and methodical.
Then, they get to know the child through their profiles and online presence and use that to make links and build bonds (these children need to feel they belong and are liked).
Once the children realise something might be amiss, they feel scared or ashamed, so keep quiet.
YOUNG PEOPLE ARE THE ONLINE EXPERTS – SPEAK TO THEM
Think – CONTENT/CONDUCT/CONTACT (see bulletin 1)
There are currently about 10 county lines active in Portsmouth. (Nov 2021)
It is one of the top 4 cities for London based lines. (Oct 2020)
Children as young as 12 have been recruited.
A note on girls....
A recent BBC documentary called Hidden Girls (available on BBC iplayer for 9 months) made the following useful points:-
- Girl victims of CCE are often “hidden” as they are not badly behaved and instead might be withdrawn and quiet.
- Girls are often used as “links” – for sex.
- Girl exploitation is on the increase as criminals use the BOYFRIEND MODEL – they make the girls believe there is a romance and then the girl ends up selling drugs or looking after weapons for them.
Keep an eye out for these signs:
- Change of peers or isolated from peers
- Regularly staying out late
- Having multiple phones or receiving many more messages (even more than “normal” teenage life!)
- Not engaging in school
- Drug and alcohol use
- Sudden change in wellbeing – e.g., self-harming, aggression, eating issues, seeming scared
- Evidence of sexual activity – STIs or pregnancy
- Going missing
- Friendships with older individuals and groups.
- Unexplained money, expensive clothing etc
- Travelling out of the area without good reason
- Unexplained injuries
Teach your child about consent and respecting themselves
Keep home a safe place – make them want to be there
Gangs thrive when children are looking for a sense of belonging and for someone to be kind to them (and groomers exploit this emotional need). Children who are victims of CCE are more likely to come from homes where they witness domestic violence, substance misuse and generally want to “get away” from a home they feel is unsafe.
If you have any concerns you want to discuss at school please contact your child’s tutor, their Head of House or the Designated Safeguarding Lead – Mrs Holness.
CEOP is a law enforcement agency, there to keep children and young people safe from grooming and online sexual abuse. You are able to make a report or seek advice.
“parents against child exploitation” – they support parents whose children are being exploited by criminals outside the family.
Lots of information specific to our area.
Provides both information and a resource for anonymous reporting of your concerns.