It is important to acknowledge harm facing children and young people and to help them, their parents and carers to understand the threats but to know where to get help and support.
It is important to remember that all forms of Exploitation do not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.
Criminal exploitation involves taking advantage of vulnerable people and forcing them to engage in various forms of criminal activity. The victim may have been criminally exploited even if it appears consensual.
This can involve a young person being involved with offending such as theft and robbery and developing a criminal record, withdrawing from school and being involved with gangs and at risk of increased involvement and risk of violence.
County lines are a network between an urban centre and county location where drugs are sold often over a mobile phone. Children and vulnerable people are used to transport drugs, cash or even weapons. It can involve intimidation, blackmail and serious violence.
Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse. When a child or young person is exploited they’re given things such as gifts, drugs, money, status and affection, in exchange for performing sexual activities.
Children and young people are often tricked into believing they’re in a loving and consensual relationship. This is called grooming. They may trust their abuser and not understand that they’re being abused.
The Integrated Front Door (IFD) is the single point of contact for a family to get the right help at the right time. The IFD team deals with all safeguarding enquires for children and young people in West Sussex. It brings together expert professionals, from services that have contact with children, young people and families, and makes the best possible use of their combined knowledge and resources to keep children safe from harm and promote these and their family’s wellbeing.
There’s a wide range of sources of help and advice available to parents and carers who have concerns about children or have been affected by, or at risk of, violence and exploitation. Below are links to useful websites and contacts of some organisations that you can contact for information and support.