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Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Boards' Procedures Manual

Children Abused Through Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter outlines the procedures for responding to any concern that a child or young person (CYP), living or residing in Derby and Derbyshire, is at risk of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE). Protection from abuse is a fundamental right for all children and CSE is a form of child abuse.

Key points and actions are outlined below: CSE cases should not be held outside of Children's Social Care unless they do not meet Medium or High risk of ongoing CSE as outlined in the Risk Assessment Toolkit (Documents Library). CSE is assessed by Children's Social Care, under Section 17 Child in Need or Section 47, Child Protection of the Children Act 1989.

RELATED CHAPTERS

Providing Early Help Procedure

Making a Referral to Social Care Procedure

E-safety and Internet Abuse Procedure

Derby and Derbyshire Runaway or Missing from Home or Care Protocol (see Documents Library)

Safeguarding Children Who May be Victims of Modern Slavery (have been Trafficked) Procedure

RELATED LOCAL GUIDANCE

Child Sexual Exploitation Toolkit for Professionals (Documents Library)

Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Boards' Child Sexual Exploitation Strategy (Documents Library)

NATIONAL GUIDANCE

Child Sexual Exploitation Definition and a Guide for Practitioners, Local Leaders and Decision Makers Working to Protect Children from Child Sexual Exploitation (DfE, 2017)

Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation: Progress Report (Home Office, 2017)

Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation – The Rotherham Response (HM Government, 2015)

Responding to Child Sexual Exploitation – College of Policing

Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation Action Plan (Department for Education)

CEOP Thematic Assessment (2013) The Foundations of Abuse: A Thematic Assessment of the Risk of Child Sexual Abuse by Adults in Institutions.

AMENDMENTS

In July 2107, this procedure was reviewed throughout and extensively updated to reflect processes for responding to concerns in relation to CSE in Derby City and Derbyshire. The Child Sexual Exploitation Toolkit (found in the Documents Library) has been reissued and now covers both Derby City and Derbyshire. The toolkit contains information on indicators of CSE and vulnerabilities and other CSE resources, including the CSE Risk Assessment Matrix.

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Response to Concerns About CSE
  3. Co-ordination of Other Processes

1. Introduction

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a form of child sexual abuse and Child Protection Procedures should be followed when there are concerns that a child is at risk of CSE or if it is evidenced that they have been exploited.

CSE can take many forms ranging from what appears outwardly to be a child 'consenting' to sexual activity, to grooming through coercion, fear and naivety.

CSE can affect any child or young person (male or female) under the age of 18 in any community, children aged 12-15 are most at risk. Abusers can be male or female, any age, from any background, ethnicity or culture and abuse can be perpetrated by individuals or in groups.

These procedures outline the roles and responsibilities of agencies when a child is identified as at risk of CSE or as sexually exploited.

In February 2017, the new civil definition of child sexual exploitation was published by the Department of Education (see Child sexual exploitation: definition and guide for practitioners(DfE, 2017)). This provides an overview of current understanding of the issue and an evidence-informed set of principles for responding to CSE. The definition of child sexual exploitation is:

Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator.

The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.

The key factor that distinguishes cases of child sexual exploitation from other forms of child sexual abuse is the presence of some form of exchange, for the victim and/or perpetrator or facilitator.

If someone takes advantage of an imbalance of power to get a child/young person to engage in sexual activity, it is child sexual exploitation if:

  1. The child/young person receives, or believes they will receive, something they need or want (tangible or intangible gain or the avoidance of harm) in exchange for the sexual activity.

    and/or

  2. The perpetrator/facilitator gains financial advantage or enhanced status from the abuse.

Any child under the age of 18 years who is at risk of or suffering any form of sexual exploitation should be treated as a victim of abuse, regardless of the circumstances of the case.

Children and young people rarely identify as a victim of CSE, therefore it is the duty of staff to be alert to the indicators and vulnerabilities that signify they are being drawn into exploitative situations. Staff must know how to report those concerns to prevent CSE, protect likely victims and assist the prosecution of offenders. This will require the provision of consistent, non-judgemental support to the child and their family and effective multi agency work.

Children and young people are often moved around within cities and across city borders for the purposes of sexual exploitation, therefore all cases should be reviewed for elements of trafficking and appropriate referrals made as required i.e. National Referral Mechanism. See Safeguarding Children who may have been Trafficked Procedure. There are many different scenarios that constitute child sexual exploitation, and although the term has been predominantly associated with adolescent harm, it is important to remember that it does not cover all forms of violence and abuse in adolescence. Other forms of harm that do not fall within the definition still require a response.

When responding to concerns and risks about CSE it is important that the following issues are considered:

  • Any child or young person male or female can be sexually exploited;
  • Looked After Children (LAC), children with a learning and / or physical disability, Special Education Needs and behaviour or conduct disorders are particularly vulnerable, as are young people in transition from Children's to Adult services and independent living;
  • The history and background of the child and family;
  • Grooming is based on the concept of exchange, excitement and fear, and perpetrators will adjust their approach depending on the vulnerabilities, resilience and desires of the child;
  • The contextual information related to the risk of sexual exploitation and issues for those involved; i.e. where they are most at risk of being exploited, who and what places they are at risk from, type of abuse etc;
  • Information on the alleged perpetrator/s, individual, family, community, professionals and organisational context; to consider other support and disruption/prosecution options;
  • Capacity and ability to give true consent;
  • Any level of coercion or aggravated behaviours; and
  • Relevant Legislation for example Sexual Offences Act 2003 / Serious Crime Act 2015.

Young people may present with a combination of factors that make them vulnerable to child abuse, for that reason professionals must consider other areas of vulnerability such as running away/going missing, extremism, domestic abuse offending and FGM. See Derby and Derbyshire Runaway or Missing from Home or Care Protocol Procedure, Domestic Abuse Procedure and Safeguarding Children at Risk of Abuse Through Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Procedure.

Identified perpetrators should be Police and Social Care checked and, where appropriate, action taken in accordance with the following procedures:

For further information about the indicators of CSE, vulnerabilities and other CSE resources see the CSE Risk Assessment Toolkit (Documents Library).

2. Response to Concerns About CSE

In the event of any agency or individual having concerns that a child or young person is at risk of being sexually exploited, the level, nature and extent of these concerns should be established. This should be done by the completion of the Risk Assessment Matrix located in the CSE Risk Assessment Toolkit (see Documents Library) by the practitioner identifying the concerns, in conjunction with other involved agencies to ensure that there is multi-agency information and perspective on this. This can be under taken as a stand-alone check, or as part of an Early Help Assessment or Social Care Single assessment.

On completion of the Risk Assessment Matrix, practitioners should consider the level of risk identified; low, medium or high and if there are any other needs or concerns including information in any current assessments.

Practitioners should seek advice from a CSE Champion (Derby only) or a manager within their agency, their designated safeguarding lead or from another appropriate person.

In all cases in order to facilitate the systematic collation of information in respect of children and young people considered to be at risk of sexual exploitation, the practitioner should complete the Operation Liberty CSE Report Form located in the CSE Risk Assessment Toolkit (see Documents Library) and forward this to the appropriate Police City or County Referral Unit. See Local Contacts.

Low Level of Risk

All agencies and practitioners must be aware that a child under 13 years old and any child with a significant learning disability or medical needs cannot be considered low risk of CSE.

If the professional judgement identifies the level of risk identified is low, in most cases the child is likely to require support identified via an Early Help Assessment. Along with the CSE Risk Assessment Matrix this will also ensure that there is a holistic assessment of the child. See Providing Early Help Procedure.

In most cases the Early Help Assessment (EHA) should be undertaken by the identifying agency and where needed they should call a Team Around the Family (TAF) meeting involving the parents / carers, the young person and other agencies.

The meeting should be used to share information, update any assessments including the Risk Assessment and develop a multi-agency action plan to address the concerns. This should include those specific to CSE and incorporate awareness raising work with the young person and their family. See Derby CSE Service Offer or Derbyshire CSE Offer (under review).

The assessment and plan should also address any concerns associated with CSE, e.g. any mental or physical health needs, are they going missing, subject to on-line abuse, substance misuse (drugs and/or alcohol), and appropriate interventions or referrals to specialist agencies offered.

When there is low level of risk, the threshold for Police or Social Care involvement is unlikely to be met. Should concerns increase, then the Risk Assessment should be updated. If the risk level has increased, a referral should be made to Social Care (see medium and high risk below).

If the child is already open to Children's Social Care or a Multi-Agency Team (MAT), and low level concerns are identified, these should be addressed within the existing plan for the child.

Medium Level of Risk

If the professional judgement, on completion of the Risk Assessment Matrix, identifies the risk level as medium, the practitioner should make a referral to Social Care (see Making a Referral to Social Care Procedure) and consideration must be given to the need for a Social Care Assessment, taking account of the context and any other concerns for the child. This also applies where a child is open to a Multi-Agency Team (MAT). A Professional's Meeting may be held, to share emerging concerns and inform the risk assessment; this would be chaired by a team manager or practitioner.

The assessment and plan should also address any concerns associated with CSE, e.g. any mental or physical health needs, are they going missing, subject to on-line abuse, substance misuse (drugs and/or alcohol), and appropriate interventions or referrals to specialist agencies offered.

If the child is already open to Children's Social Care, the CSE Risk Assessment and Single Assessment must be updated, in consultation with partner agencies. See also Section 3, Coordination of Other Processes.

A decision must be made about the appropriate threshold for assessment and intervention; see Derby City and Derbyshire Thresholds Document (Documents Library). If the child is considered to be at risk of significant harm, see High Level of Risk below.

If the risk level is confirmed as medium, services should be provided as a Child in Need, in line with the Thresholds Document. Additionally, contact MUST be made with the Duty Child Protection Manager (Derby) or the Locality Child Protection Manager (Derbyshire) who will clarify the level of risk.

In addition in Derby they will confirm the need for a CSE meeting. The Child Protection Manager will convene a CSE meeting within 15 working days of the request for those children and young people considered to be at medium risk. This will include all involved and relevant agencies, including the Police and specialist CSE service, and to which the young person and their parents / carers will be supported to attend. The lead practitioner will submit the CSE risk assessment, the single assessment or CSE report and a proposed CSE plan at least two days before an initial meeting. In Derbyshire the Locality Child Protection Manager will confirm the need for a Strategy Discussion held in district to explore CSE Risks. The outcome of the this Strategy Discussion should be recorded appropriately in Frameworki and, additionally, discussed with the CP Manager for CSE and Vulnerable Young People if further clarification on the scoring is required. The outcome will also inform actions within the Child's Plan.

The Strategy Discussion / Meeting should give particular consideration to ensuring the safety of the child and the investigation of any criminal activity.

The purpose of the Derby CSE meeting or Derbyshire Strategy Discussion is to:

  • Focus on issues relating to sexual exploitation;
  • Consider the risk and vulnerability factors as well as protective factors to judge the level and detail of the risk to the child or young person;
  • Plan the detail of the interventions, including direct work with the child or young person and their family, using the risk assessment toolkit guidance;
  • Consider information in relation to alleged perpetrators;
  • Consider the feasibility and progression of prosecution against the perpetrators;
  • Plan disruption strategies that can be employed.

In Derby the Child Protection Manager will meet with the child or young person before the meeting where possible and there will be a confidential section in the meeting for practitioners to discuss confidential information which cannot be shared with the child or young person or their parents / carers. See guidance on Participation in Conferences (Documents Library).

All participants of the CSE meeting (Derby) or Strategy Meeting (Derbyshire) who have direct involvement with the child or young person and their family will be expected to consider the Risk Assessment from their perspective to assist preparing their contribution to the meeting.

Any person with relevant information should complete the Operation Liberty Information Report form (Documents Library). This should be shared with involved practitioners by the author and forwarded to the appropriate Police City or County Referral Unit.

Specific actions arising from CSE meeting (Derby) or Strategy Meeting (Derbyshire) must be recorded and an outline plan made available at the end of the meeting, with the minutes and CSE plan circulated within 4 weeks of the meeting.

Subsequent meetings of the Child in Need (CIN) network should be held every 4 - 6 weeks to monitor the progress of the action plan and to complete/update the Risk Assessment Toolkit at that meeting. This will assist measurement of changes in the level of risk to the child or young person.

In Derby cases should be reviewed within 3 months and then at a minimum of 6 monthly intervals by a Child Protection Manager. The lead professional will complete an updated CSE Risk assessment and CSE Report with the agencies involved and submit three days before the review meeting.

The CSE review will consider the progress of the plan, the current level of risk, and what further actions are required to reduce the risk. The CSE review will decide whether the case should continue to be reviewed through CSE procedures; when the level of risk drops to Low, the CSE plan will cease and support continue as necessary.

In Derbyshire cases should be reviewed within 3 months by the Line Manager. The lead professional will complete an updated CSE Risk assessment with the agencies involved prior to the TAF or Child in Need Meeting. The review of the Child's Plan will consider the progress of the child's outcome and the current level of risk, and what further actions are required to reduce the risk.

In Derby and Derbyshire the plan will also cease when a child turns 18, in which case transition services should be identified at the last review and in place, and when a child (other than LAC) leaves the City, in which case a referral should be made to the new Local Authority.

If at any point the risk is seen to escalate between the CSE reviews, liaison should take place with the Child Protection Manager to decide whether the CSE review should be brought forward to amend the plan or if the case requires escalation to child protection processes.

High Level of Risk

If the professional judgement identifies the risk level as high it is likely that there will be serious or complex needs or child protection concerns and an immediate referral to Children's Social Care should be made; see Making a Referral to Social Care Procedure. An Operation Liberty Information Report form (Documents Library) should also be completed and submitted to the appropriate Police City or County Referral Unit.

Where there are concerns that a child may be or is likely to suffer Significant Harm Children's Social Care will hold a Strategy Discussion / Meeting involving the Police, health and any relevant involved agency. See Child Protection Section 47 Enquiries Procedure, Strategy Discussions / Meetings. Where appropriate, a Strategy Meeting may be chaired by the Child Protection Manager or in Derbyshire the Child Protection Manager for CSE and Vulnerable Young People.

The Strategy Discussion / Meeting should give particular consideration to ensuring the safety of the child and the investigation of any criminal activity.

Where the Section 47 indicates there are a number of other concerns alongside the sexual exploitation, in particular neglectful or collusive parenting or where the CSE risks are very high, a Child Protection Conference should be called. The resultant Child Protection Plan must very clearly indicate the CSE risks and action to address them, alongside side any other safeguarding issues. Once a child is subject to a Child Protection Plan, the core group meetings and review processes will take place as detailed in the Implementation of Child Protection Plans Procedure.

In Derby most children and young people with high level risk will not require a Section 47 investigation but are likely to have serious or complex needs and will be assessed as a Child in Need. The Child Protection Manager will call a CSE meeting within 15 days and all other processes are as for medium risk above.

3. Co-ordination of Other Processes

In Derby children subject to CSE meetings will be Children in Need, subject to Child Protection Plans or Looked After.

All cases which are progressed as Child in Need will have CSE meetings arranged and coordinated through the Child Protection Manager to consider the issues in relation to level and management of on-going risk and to identify the plan for intervention. These will replace Child in Need review meetings; however dates of CSE meetings and plans must be doubly recorded on Children's Services IT systems (LCS) as CiN reviews and plans to avoid an apparent gap. Meetings of the multi-agency network should take place every 4 - 6 weeks, with reviews at 3 months and then 6-monthly. The lead practitioner may be a Social Worker or Children's Practitioner in a Social Care or Multi-Agency Team.

Where the child or young person is already subject to a Child Protection Plan for different reasons, and concerns in relation to potential sexual exploitation emerge, the Social Worker should complete the Risk Assessment Toolkit as above and liaise with the existing Child Protection Manager. Where the level of risk identified would have led to a CSE meeting, a specific CSE meeting should be held OR the conference brought forward, chaired by the Child Protection Manager. Any plans arising from the CSE meeting will be incorporated into the existing Child Protection Plan and reviewed by the Child Protection Manager within child protection processes. This also applies if a child becomes subject to a Child Protection Plan as a result of serious CSE concerns or where parents are failing to protect from CSE. These children should also be identified as subject to the CSE pathway in LCS but there should be no duplication of meetings.

If the child is Looked After by the Local Authority, the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) must also be informed of any emerging concerns. CSE meetings will be additional to Looked After Reviews but the timing should be co-ordinated according to the needs of the child, and secondarily for the convenience of professionals. The Child Protection Manager will consult with the IRO and the worker to determine the best approach. The IRO should be invited to any separate CSE meeting and minutes shared with them. There will be a separate CSE plan but this will be referenced in the child's LAC care plan. In Derby these children should also be identified as subject to the CSE pathway in LCS. Where a child in the care of another Local Authority, is placed in Derby and assessed as at risk of CSE, Derby procedures will be followed as above in consultation with the child's Social Worker, and CSE meetings will take place locally.

In Derbyshire children subject to CSE meetings will be Children in Need, subject to Child Protection Plans or Children in Care.

In Derbyshire, if the child is progressed as Child in Need or is already open to Children's Social Care or a Multi-Agency Team (MAT), and low level concerns are identified, these should be addressed within the existing plan for the child. If medium risk - the lead professional will confirm the need for a Strategy Discussion held in district to explore CSE Risks., The outcome will also inform actions within the Child's Plan. Subsequent meetings of the Child in Need (CIN) network should be held every 4 - 6 weeks to monitor the progress of the action plan and to complete/update the Risk Assessment Toolkit at that meeting. This will assist measurement of changes in the level of risk to the child or young person. Cases should be reviewed within 3 months by the Line Manager. The lead professional will complete an updated CSE Risk assessment with the agencies involved prior to the TAF or Child in Need Meeting. The review of the Child's Plan will consider the progress of the child's outcome and the current level of risk, and what further actions are required to reduce the risk. FWI should also be updated accordingly.

Where the child or young person is already subject to a Child Protection Plan for different reasons, and concerns in relation to potential sexual exploitation emerge, the Social Worker should complete the Risk Assessment Toolkit as above and liaise with the Child Protection Manager. Where the level of risk identified would have led to a Strategy Meeting, a specific Strategy Meeting should be held OR the conference brought forward, chaired by the Child Protection Manager. Any plans arising from the Strategy meeting will be incorporated into the existing Child Protection Plan and reviewed by the Child Protection Manager within child protection processes. This also applies if a child becomes subject to a Child Protection Plan as a result of serious CSE concerns or where parents are failing to protect from CSE. This process applies for Low and Medium levels. For High Risk CSE the Child Protections Manager for Vulnerable YP and CSE also needs to be identified. FWI should also be updated accordingly.

If the child is Looked After by the Local Authority, the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) must also be informed of any emerging concerns. Strategy Meetings will be additional to Looked After Reviews but the timing should be co-ordinated according to the needs of the child, and secondarily for the convenience of professionals. The lead professional will consult with the IRO and the worker to determine the best approach. The IRO should be invited to any separate meetings and minutes shared with them. In some cases there will be a separate Child Protection Plan and this would need to be referenced in the child's LAC care plan. If a child has an Education Health Care plan (EHC), the SEND officer should be informed of any emerging concerns of CSE and the EHC Child's Plan should reference the CSE concerns.

Where a child in the care of another Local Authority, is placed in Derbyshire and assessed as at risk of CSE, Derbyshire procedures will be followed as above in consultation with the Child's Social Worker, and Strategy Meetings will take place locally.