Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) involves pressurising children and young people under 18 years to become involved in criminal activity. Children and young people are 'groomed' by adults through violence, coercion, the use of debt, or the promise of gifts. The children and young people are exploited by the adult; they are not at fault, 'choosing a lifestyle' or making an informed choice.
Criminal exploitation can involve drugs, cash, firearms and weapons, and acts such as theft and burglaries. Some of the adults involved are from criminal gangs who may send children and young people to supply drugs to suburban areas, market and coastal towns (trafficking). One well-publicised piece of research of this activity is 'County Lines'.
CCE usually involves other forms of abuse within families, communities or more sophisticated organised crime groups e.g. trauma, peer abuse, sexual exploitation, gang activity, going missing, trafficking and modern slavery.
The Child Exploitation Screening Tool:
The Sheffield Child Exploitation Screening Tool does not replace existing multi-agency safeguarding arrangements that are in place in Sheffield. If you have safeguarding and child protection concerns about a child’s welfare then you should contact the Sheffield Safeguarding Hub to discuss.
The screening tool is designed to be used by all professionals working with children and their parents or carers. A child is defined as a person who is under 18 years of age.
This tool will help you to make an initial judgement regarding the risk of child exploitation; it is neither a specialist assessment or referral form. The tool will help practitioners to focus on the specific child exploitation (CE) evidence, indicators, existing safety and vulnerabilities, and determine whether further investigations are needed by Children’s Social Care or referral to another prevention and early intervention service.
When you are considering a referral to the Sheffield Safeguarding Hub (Children's Social Care) or sharing your concerns with the child’s allocated social worker, this screening tool should form the basis of those discussions and your professional analysis.
Practitioners need to exercise their professional judgement when using this tool because factors such as the child’s age, additional vulnerabilities, their history, may mean that the child is more vulnerable to CE. Professional judgement also includes concerns that you can evidence as well as concerns based ‘gut feeling’. It is important that you differentiate between the two and provide explanation and rationale. It is important to include the child’s strengths and existing safety so that this can be considered.
Your observations of behaviours and any significant changes are important as children will often deny or be unaware that they are being exploited.
SCSP fact sheets:
SCSP Team Talk:
SCSP policy & guidance:
Sheffield Futures have produced a training pathway for parents, carers, practitioners from all sectors, faith groups and workers in the night-time economy. They also offer Free Introduction to Child Sexual Exploitation training to any practitioner working in Sheffield.
Other relevant information can be found on this website here: Information and resources or in the index on the left side of this page.
If you are concerned about a child or young person, follow this link: Referring a safeguarding concern to Children’s Social Care