Child Criminal Exploitation

Child criminal exploitation is defined as a form of abuse where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child into taking part in criminal activity, for any of the following reasons:

  • In exchange for something the victim needs or wants
  • For the financial advantage or other advantage of the perpetrator or facilitator
  • Through violence or the threat of violence (this could be online or through technology)

Specific forms of CCE can include:

  • Being forced or manipulated into transporting drugs or money through county lines.
  • Working in cannabis factories.
  • Shoplifting or pickpocketing.
  • Committing vehicle crime.
  • Committing, or threatening to commit, serious violence to others.

Brookfield School recognise that pupils involved in CCE are victims themselves, regardless of whether they have committed crimes, and even if the criminal activity appears consensual. Brookfield School will also recognise that pupils of any gender are at risk of CCE.

Staff will be aware of the indicators that a pupil is the victim of CCE, including:

  • Associating with other children involved in exploitation
  • Suffering from changes in emotional wellbeing
  • Misusing drugs or alcohol
  • Going missing for periods of time or regularly coming home late
  • Regularly missing school or education
  • Appearing with unexplained gifts, money or new possessions.

Criminal exploitation of children can include County Lines. This is a geographically widespread form of harm that is a typical feature of county lines criminal activity: drug networks or criminal networks / gangs groom and exploit children and young people to carry drugs and money into one or more areas. Key to identifying potential involvement in county lines are missing episodes, when the victim may have been trafficked or the purpose of transporting drugs.

As well as the general indicators for CCE, school staff will be aware of the specific indicators that a pupil may be involved in county lines, including:

  • Going missing and subsequently being found in areas away from their home.
  • Having been the victim or perpetrator of serious violence, e.g. knife crime.
  • Receiving requests for drugs via a phone line, moving drugs, collecting money
  • Being found in accommodation they have no connection
  • Owing a ‘debt bond’ to their exploiters
  • Having their bank account used to facilitate drug dealing.

If you are concerned your child maybe being criminally exploited or recognise any of the above signs, then please inform one of our DSL’s who will offer support and advice. Early recognition and sharing intelligence is key to accessing the right support.