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Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership Procedures Manual

Children at Risk of Exploitation (CRE)


Protection from abuse is a fundamental right for all children and exploitation is a form of child abuse.

Exploitation is a priority area for the DDSCP Partnership.

This chapter outlines the procedures for responding to any concern that a child, living or residing in Derby and Derbyshire is at risk of exploitation, including child sexual exploitation (CSE) and child criminal exploitation (CCE).

A child is anyone under the age of 18 (Children Act 1989) and young people up to the age of 25 with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). Adult services are often used to support children in transition, who have indicators or evidence of ongoing exploitation.

The chapter also offers guidance for the use of the Child at Risk of Exploitation (CRE) Risk Assessment, to enable practitioners to assess a child’s level of risk to all forms of exploitation in a quick and consistent manner.

The risk assessment will provide referrers the opportunity to explain why the child is at risk of exploitation:

  • Consider vulnerability factors from a current and historic perspective;
  • Identify indicators of concern that relate to all forms of exploitation but specifically Child criminal and child sexual exploitation;
  • Practitioners should provide analysis in line with thresholds and procedures;
  • Take action to promote the welfare of children who are being or may be exploited;
  • Develop individual safety and disruption plans and local prevention strategies to address individual and place-based risk- See Guidance on Intervention and Disruption;
  • Act against those intent on abusing and exploiting children.

Overall, it should be used flexibly to take account of each child’s individuality, culture, identity and beliefs. The risks assessment is a live document that should be updated regularly and considers the uniqueness of the child’s circumstances and the changes that may occur for them over time.

The Derby and Derbyshire CRE Strategy should be read in conjunction with this procedure.


Child at Risk of Exploitation (CRE) Assessment for Professionals (Documents Library, Report Forms and Templates Section)

Providing Early Help Procedure

Making a Referral to Social Care Procedure

Child Protection Section 47 Enquiries Procedure

Children who Present a Risk of Harm to Others Procedure

Online Safety and Internet Abuse Procedure

Derby and Derbyshire Runaway or Missing from Home or Care Protocol

Safeguarding Children at Risk of Abuse Through Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) Procedure

Forced Marriage Procedure

Honour Based Abuse and Violence Procedure

Investigating Complex (Organised or Multiple) Abuse Procedure

Managing Individuals who Pose a Risk of Harm to Children Procedure

Safeguarding Children and Young people against Radicalisation and Violent Extremism Procedure

Responding to Adult and Child Victims of Modern Slavery (Documents Library, Guidance Documents)

Derby Protocol for the transfer of young adults from Children's Social Care to Adult Safeguarding Services where Sexual Exploitation, Female Genital Mutilation, Honour Based Violence, Forced Marriage and Criminal Exploitation is an identified on-going risk (Documents Library, Protocols Section)

Derby and Derbyshire Information Sharing Guidance for Practitioners (Documents Library, Guidance Documents Section)

Self Harm and Suicidal Behaviour Guidance


In January 2023, this chapter was updated as the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 has extended the definition of Position of Trust within the Sexual Offences Act 2003 section 22A to include anyone who coaches, teaches, trains, supervises or instructs a child under 18, on a regular basis, in a sport or a religion.


  1. Introduction to Children at Risk of Exploitation (CRE)
  2. Vulnerabilities and Exploitation
  3. Good Practice when Working with Children Affected by Exploitation
  4. CRE Risk Assessment and Next Steps
    1. Assessment
    2. Meetings
    3. Plan
    4. Intervention and Disruption
    5. Level of Risk and Referral
    6. Police Response
  5. Co-ordination of Other Processes including SEND
  6. Care Leavers
  7. National Guidance and Further Information

1. Introduction to Children at Risk of Exploitation (CRE)

This procedure focuses on safeguarding and protecting children at risk of exploitation (CRE) and outlines the actions to be taken.

Children and young people who are sexually or criminally exploited or at risk of exploitation are victims of child abuse. Where there is evidence that concerns are not being robustly addressed by universal services, who also have a role in protection and disruption, consideration should be given to referring to Children’s Social Care and the Police to implement safeguarding processes, see Making a Referral to Social Care Procedure.

Child exploitation relates to forms of child abuse including (but not exclusively) the sexual and criminal exploitation of children under 18 years of age and possibly up to age 25 for children who have Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND); or have previously been in the care of the Local Authority.

Any child who is at risk of or suffering any form of exploitation should be treated as a victim of abuse, regardless of the circumstances of the case. Exploitation of children is a national issue and many parents who have children who are at risk will have made numerous attempts to support their child and disrupt the activity. These parents are integral to the protection of their children and should be considered at the earliest stages in addressing concerns.

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) 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) for 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.

Common characteristics of CSE

  • Violence, coercion and intimidation are common in circumstances where children are exploited this is demonstrated by the child or young person’s limited availability of choice, as a result of their social, economic or emotional vulnerability;
  • The child or young person does not recognise the coercive nature of the perceived relationship and often does not see themselves as a victim of exploitation.

Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) is child abuse where children and young people are manipulated and coerced into committing crimes. The victim may have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears consensual. Child criminal exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.

Common characteristics of Criminal Exploitation

  • CCE is commonly seen within the County Lines Model of drug supply however criminal exploitation of children is broader than just county lines and includes for instance exploitation of children for local drug supply with their home County or children forced to work on cannabis farms or to commit acquisitive crime, burglary, shop lifting, begging, knife crimes and other weapons offences. Vulnerable adults may also be targeted e.g. their home may be taken over to distribute Class A drugs in a practice referred to as 'cuckooing'.

There are cross cutting themes in all forms of exploitation, any child could be exploited and there can be more than one form of exploitation at any one time. Grooming, issues of consent, fear, violence and moving the child for the purposes of exploitation and underlying vulnerabilities such as neglect are common features of exploitation

Exploitation can be perpetrated by individuals or groups, of any gender, background, ethnicity or culture, and by children or adults. The abuse can be a one-off occurrence or a series of incidents over time, and range from opportunistic to complex organised abuse.

2. Vulnerabilities and Exploitation

Exploitation can happen in a number of contexts involving contact and non-contact abuse, via 1-1 (i.e., child on child or adult on child), constrained choices (a child feels they have no choice) or an organised abuse (group) basis such as paedophile ring or exploited via gang association.

Types of exploitation may include:

  • Child sexual exploitation;
  • Child criminal exploitation, including drugs supply, acquisitive crime and county lines;
  • Modern slavery;
  • Extremism and radicalisation;
  • Internet based exploitation - contact and non-contact offences, including sending Nudes and Semi nudes;
  • Female genital mutilation (FGM);
  • Honour based abuse and violence;
  • Forced marriage;
  • Serious adult and youth violence, including gang violence;
  • Financial exploitation.

Who is vulnerable to exploitation?

Any child, in any community: Child exploitation is occurring across the country but is often hidden. All practitioners should be open to the possibility that the children they work with might be affected. Structural inequalities such as children and families living in poverty increase vulnerabilities that place those families at heightened risk of exploitation, particularly those without adequate systemic support.

Children who go missing or who are not regularly attending education are at particular risk of exploitation. Consideration should be given to the completion of the CRE Risk Assessment (Documents Library, Assessment Tools Section) when children go missing. This is particularly poignant where children are looked after, and therefore may be missing more regularly.

Age: Children of any age are at risk of child exploitation.

Gender, identity and sexual orientation: Children of any gender, identity or sexual orientation can be exploited but children who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender fluid or other, may be at increased risk of exploitation, or targeted offending.

Ethnicity: Child exploitation affects children from all ethnic groups.

Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

  • Children with disabilities are three times more likely to be abused than children without a disability;
  • Children with Neurodevelopmental conditions or conduct disorders are particularly vulnerable to being groomed and exploited;
  • Children with disabilities may be misled or not informed about sex and relationships and their rights, therefore increasing their vulnerability to exploitation;
  • Children who depend on technology as a means of communication are also more vulnerable to online grooming and abuse, tracking, bullying and harassment are also features of the online risk;
  • A lack of diagnosis and assessment for learning disabilities can result in a child’s behaviour, vulnerabilities and needs being misunderstood;
  • Some attitudes and assumptions about children with a disability, or failure to believe disabled children are abused, increases vulnerability;
  • Lack of support may lead to isolation of the child and their family;
  • Dependency on a number of carers for personal assistance, impaired capacity, communication difficulties and inability to understand what is happening or how to seek help increases vulnerability.

Heightened vulnerability factors: Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) makes clear the requirements for holistic assessments and contextual safeguarding of children. In Derby and Derbyshire, the term ‘place based risk’ relates to those contextual elements of risk. That means we need to keep children safe in all aspects of their lives, and in all environments for example, within peer and family relationships, within school, the community, whilst using online applications, general internet use, and in the home.

Practitioners should be mindful that parents, wider family or carers may be complicit in the exploitation of a child, they may also fail to protect from it. Therefore, there should be a thorough risk assessment that takes into consideration inter-familial risks and any risk external to the home (placed based risk).

In addition, children rarely identify as a victim of exploitation or relate to the risks identified by practitioners. Disclosure may take time and risks may only emerge during work and assessment with the child.

Research tells us that children who have suffered any form of trauma may be unable to relate to risk to themselves or others and may also be in denial about the risk identified by parents or practitioners. If this is the case trauma informed approaches should be considered.

3. Good Practice when Working with Children Affected by Exploitation

Good practice would include:

  • Practitioners must focus on the risks to the child, not any consequential behaviours they present with;
  • Early sharing of information to ensure that effective help is provided where there are emerging problems. (Set out in Operation Liberty);
  • The assessment of vulnerability and welfare needs must include contextual safeguarding and consider the lived experience of the child and their direct wishes and feelings;
  • An analysis of the home environment and any risks external to the family home – for example a location of concern;
  • Child-centred approach and intensive support around the child, their family and peers, including whether an advocate is required, and the use of appropriate tools are used to capture their views. It is important to ensure those views relate to the risk of exploitation and problem profiling;
  • Multi-agency eco-mapping and safety mapping completed with the child to support a better understanding of the risk of exploitation to the child;
  • Create a multi- agency disruption plan to reduce or remove risk to the child or family. See Guidance on Intervention and Disruption;
  • Equal focus on the five pronged governmental, regional and local approach to CRE; Prevent, Protect, Pursue, Partnership, Provision. See Serious Violence Strategy;
  • Raising awareness with any professional, family or community;
  • Work with partners to disrupt areas or persons of concern and report information to police and social care licensing bodies where appropriate. Refer to Derby Licensing teams and Derbyshire Licensing teams under Say Something if you See Something campaign;
  • Consistent relationships and support to be provided where possible;
  • Reflective supervision, support and training to staff to remain conversant with current trends and tools;
  • Evaluation of interventions and evaluation and review to continually support learning.

It is the duty of all practitioners to be alert to the indicators and vulnerabilities that signify children are being drawn into exploitative situations.

There are a number of important points to remember when assessing the risk of exploitation:

  • Information on exploitation shared with families and children must be relatable and in a format children and families understand. See Appropriate Language: Child Exploitation;
  • Exploitation often occurs without the child’s immediate knowledge, through others copying videos or images they have created and posted on social media;
  • Exploitation can affect family members or siblings and they may be at risk of retaliation; therefore, assessments must include wider risks to the family;
  • No child under 13 years or with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) issues can immediately be assessed as Low Risk. If there are indications that they are abused or at risk of exploitation a thorough assessment is required. However, if after a single assessment and a CRE risk assessment, protective factors are shown that mitigate the risk, then they can be recorded as low risk. The rationale for this must be recorded on the child’s files;
  • Consideration should be given to those transitioning to adulthood or in receipt of services such as leaving care. Adult transition teams may be required to support with safety plans and may assume responsibility for a case, where there is an ongoing risk of exploitation;
  • Risks may fluctuate throughout support and interventions with the young person and/or their family, therefore regular updates of the risk assessment are required, minimum every 4 - 6 weeks in core or network meetings.

Modern Slavery is a complex crime that takes several different forms. It encompasses slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking. Even though most people think that slavery only exists overseas, Modern Slavery in the UK is thriving. It is estimated that tens of thousands of people are in Modern Slavery in the UK today.

All cases (locally and out of area) should be reviewed within a multi-agency strategy meeting for elements of Modern Slavery and appropriate referrals made as required i.e. National Referral Mechanism (Section 45 & 46). See Responding to Adult and Child Victims of Modern Slavery (Documents Library, Guidance Documents).

It is important to intervene early whenever there are concerns that a child or young person is being radicalised. The Safeguarding Children and Young people against Radicalisation and Violent Extremism Procedure should also be followed to ensure referrals are made to Channel and Prevent.

See also Derby and Derbyshire Runaway or Missing from Home or Care Protocol, and the following Procedures:

See also Relevant Legislation, for example: Sexual Offences Act (2003) / Serious Crime Act (2015).

4. CRE Risk Assessment and Next Steps

The earlier the intervention, the better the chances of success. It is vital to:

  1. Consider reachable and teachable moments as discussed in serious case reviews of criminal exploitation DDSCP Learning from Reviews.
  2. Use the support toolkits available from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and government plans for reforms to improve protection of children nationwide (Links provided in appendices).

4.1 Assessment

The CRE Risk Assessment should be used by all practitioners and agencies when a child is at risk of exploitation and should be sent to the relevant Local authority who will review in line with Threshold application. This is a professional tool and therefore include professional language however we would encourage parents and child’s views to be an integral part of the assessment.

Furthermore, completion of the CRE Assessment is more effective when there are multi-agency views and collaboration. The practitioner identifying the concerns should involve liaison with other agencies, at a minimum Social Care, Police, Health and Education and Specialist Exploitation Services.

A full risk assessment should be used to assess any risk of exploitation to a child, this includes:

  1. Why are you concerned about this child, why are they at risk of exploitation?
  2. Cultural, Identity and additional vulnerability factors;
  3. Risk Indicators and narrative;
  4. Risk Assessment Analysis and Summary.

Please note: this is not simply a check list, the indicators and vulnerabilities provided within the risk assessment are not exhaustive. Practitioners must expand on any indicators they note and provide the narrative of concern and analysis of risk based on all relevant information. It is rarely one concern that makes a child vulnerable and therefore all must be considered within your analysis and response.

Remember that the language and terminology used in the risk assessment is professional and is not to be used directly with children or their families, however please ensure their views are incorporated and children and families understand the outcome of the assessment.

The assessment must consider wider risk to family/carers or other associates and use of other strategies to disrupt and prosecute offender.

The analysis should include.

  • Identification of current level of risk, primary risk/type of exploitation and immediate concerns ;
  • Action already taken against person/s or places or risk;
  • Protective and resilience factors that mitigate risk to the child or family;
  • Place/space-based risk analysis;
  • Immediate actions taken to safeguard and protect the child;
  • Information sharing with key agencies and with family (where allowed);
  • Information on how, where and when this referral has been shared.

The level of intervention required depends on the presenting information. Practitioners should seek advice from an appropriate person within their agency, their designated safeguarding lead or from a CRE Champion/Single Point of Contact if available.

A record must be kept by each agency of case discussions, decision making and interventions. In all cases in order to facilitate the systematic collation of information in respect of children considered to be at risk of exploitation, the practitioner should also complete the Information Sharing Form for Professionals Operation Liberty.

Operation Liberty must be forwarded to the Police Referral Unit via:

In Derby a new risk assessment should be completed after any significant incident and prior to any CRE review inclusive of TAF, CIN and CP. A significant incident would also require an update of the single assessment and potentially s17 or s47 strategy meeting.

The level of risk recorded at the meeting will remain on file regardless of new assessments, until there is a further multi-agency CRE review meeting to formally agree the level with all relevant partners. Planned meeting dates can sometimes be brought forward (if a manager contacts the chair of the conference to agree, and there is capacity to do so), but if there are serious concerns about the safety of a child, the normal safeguarding procedures must be followed.

In Derbyshire it is a requirement that high-risk cases should be reviewed every 4 weeks and medium risk cases should be reviewed every 6 weeks at a multi-agency CRE meeting. With these cases being heard at the Locality CRE panel for strategic oversight every month. If a significant incident has happened between these review times an updated CRE Risk Assessment to reflect this should be completed.

It should be noted that children can move very quickly between the risk indicators and therefore there should be a regular review of the risk assessment and any safety/action plan.

4.2 Meetings

Meetings should ensure that children and their parents are supported to participate wherever possible.

Specific actions arising from meetings must be recorded and an outline plan made available at the end of the meeting and later circulated alongside the minutes.

All agencies who have direct involvement with the child and their family will be expected to consider the CRE Risk Assessment from their perspective to assist preparing their contribution to the meeting.

4.3 Plan

The plan developed should address any concerns associated with CRE and any wider safeguarding concerns, taking into consideration the CRE risk assessment and single assessment. The plan should be outcome focused and SMART, determining the appropriate interventions or referrals to specialist agencies offered. See Derby CRE Service Offer or Derbyshire CRE Operational Workflow.

4.4 Intervention and Disruption

Tackling child exploitation is a complex task. There are similarities between different forms of exploitation and victims of child exploitation may, at any one time, be subject to both sexual and criminal exploitation. It is therefore crucial that all practitioners recognise, and by working together, deploy tactics to disrupt exploitation when it occurs. Practitioners must formulate a plan that disrupts and prosecutes those who are manipulating, coercing or controlling the child.

The circumstances in which the exploitation occurs can demand different approaches to disruption. Factors such as the age of victims, the context in which offences occur and the risk they pose, require a range of different tools, deployed tactically by different agencies working together.

Intervention Strategies

Common strategies are outlined below:

  • Disrupting the child’s relationship with other children suspected of exploitation through them being manipulated to introduce them to serious adult and youth violence, including gang violence, drugs and sexual exploitation;
  • Disrupting the child’s contact with adults suspected of being involved in violence, drugs and exploitation;
  • Gather, record and share information (via Operation Liberty) to assist prosecution and disruption of adults or other children suspected of being involved in the exploitation or drawing children into risky situations;
  • Corroboration of evidence is very important to prevent the reliance on the child’s disclosure or statement;
  • Promote positive relationships with family, friends and carers, communities;
  • Physically protect the child for example Emergency Protection Order, Police Protection, Child Abduction Warning, Community Protection Notice or Behaviour order to manage any associated anti social activity if required, note these are at the discretion of the relevant authority;
  • Maintain contact whilst absent; 'compassion banking’ i.e., text, email, letter, card;
  • Enhance the return procedure to ensure it is a positive experience Refer to RMHC Protocol in DDSCP Documents Library;
  • Set clear boundaries of acceptable behaviour and motivate positive behaviour through reward;
  • Empower the child/parent/carer/ foster carer, remember they are a key partner in protecting the child and gathering information to disrupt offenders;
  • Build the child’s self-esteem;
  • Raise the child’s awareness of exploitation and the related dangers;
  • Consider physical, sexual and emotional health needs of the child and family;
  • Involve the child in diversionary activities;
  • Make school a safe or more attractive place to go;
  • Provide specialist support through other agencies;
  • Plan on positive change for the future and set small targets to achieve monthly;
  • Where a child is unable to engage and there is concern that they are forced to sell or exchange sex or facilitating grooming for those exploiting them, discuss this with the Police or your CRE Lead to establish how to disrupt the offenders and protect this child;
  • Use commissioned services for Medium and High-risk Support (with approval from a CPM) and local specialist services to enhance support to children and parents /siblings.

In addition to the above practitioners should refer to the Child Exploitation Disruption Toolkit; disruption tactics (2019) which:

  • Sets out many of the tools useful for police and other safeguarding professionals to disrupt the sexual and criminal exploitation of children;
  • Raise awareness, this helps safeguarding partners know how their knowledge, expertise and information sharing could contribute to the protection of victims and support the arrest and potential prosecution of offenders;
  • Provide useful guidance about technological options available to support interventions;
  • A child must never be blamed for their abuse, professionals and families must be encouraged to use language and terminology that does not infer blame or perceived consent on a child. Offenders are responsible for the exploitation and abuse of children.

It is important to bear in mind that:

  • A child under the age of 13 is not legally capable of consenting to sex (it is statutory rape) or any other type of sexual touching;
  • Sexual activity with a child under 16 is an offence;
  • It is an offence for a person to have a sexual relationship with a 16 or 17 year old if they hold a position of trust or authority in relation to them. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 has extended the definition of Position of Trust within the Sexual Offences Act 2003 section 22A to include anyone who coaches, teaches, trains, supervises or instructs a child under 18, on a regular basis, in a sport or a religion. It is against the law for someone in a position of trust to engage in sexual activity with a child in their care, even if that child is over the age of consent (16 or over);
  • Where sexual activity with a 16 or 17 year old does not result in an offence being committed, it may still result in harm, or the likelihood of harm being suffered;
  • Non-consensual sex is rape whatever the age of the victim;
  • If the victim is incapacitated through drink or drugs, or the victim or their family has been subject to violence or the threat of it, they cannot be considered to have given true consent; therefore offences may have been committed;
  • Child sexual exploitation is therefore potentially a child protection issue for all children under the age of 18 years and not just those in a specific age group.

Practitioners must also consider other factors which might influence the ability of the person to give consent, e.g. learning disability / mental ill health.

Although they may sometimes appear to be making an informed choice, young people cannot and do not 'choose' abuse or exploitation. Recognising the underlying factors that can exacerbate risk will help practitioners understand and interpret apparent 'choices' and avoid the danger of apportioning blame.

Disruption Strategies Interventions Options Tools are listed in the National Guidance Section and provide updated risk and disruption toolkits for professional use. Note that they are set out under specific titles to assist a more in-depth understanding of specific cultures, vulnerabilities, or group/individual risks.

A template Disruption Letter to Known or Alleged Adults of Concern can also be found in the Documents Library.

It is common for children who are at risk of exploitation to feel unable to work with practitioners where the child does not relate to being exploited or they are fearful of reprisals or peer pressure. This is particularly noticeable if they believe that they are in love/excited by the attention/activities, have misplaced loyalties to others, are embarrassed or have financial needs met by the exploiter. The fear of the offender may mitigate fear of prosecution and may prevent children engaging with support. As such the level of coercion used to groom and abuse a child should never be underestimated.

The duty to protect a child does not rely on their wish to be protected.

The person with the best relationship with the child should lead the engagement of CRE work. Work must be relatable and appropriate to the needs and understanding of the child.

4.5 Level of Risk and Referral

Low - when there is low level of risk, the threshold for Police or Social Care involvement is unlikely to be met, where this is in isolation of other safeguarding concerns. The CRE Risk Assessment should be regularly reviewed and should concerns increase a referral should be made to Social Care

See Derby CRE Service Offer or Derbyshire CRE Operational Workflow.

Medium or High level of Risk - any case recorded with a medium or high risk the outcome should be referred immediately to a manager.

Children at Risk of Exploitation (CRE) will be safeguarded at the appropriate tier of service balancing their level of risk and protective factors. This will be determined via a robust assessment process and threshold discussions.

  • All immediate risks will require an immediate telephone or online referral to both Social Care and the Police. Where there are concerns that a child is suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm or at Risk of Exploitation, a CRE Risk Assessment should be completed within 24 hours and 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.

For new referrals not already open to Social Care – send to Childrens Social Care for consideration of a Single Assessment and Threshold discussion.

In Derby referrals should be made to the Initial Response Team. Advice and support can also be sought from a Child Protection Manager. See Derby Children's Social Care Online Referral System.

In Derbyshire all new cases should be referred to Starting Point contact and referral service. All open cases that are considered as high risk should be referred to the Child Protection Manager for Vulnerable Children (CPM-VC).

For open cases to Social Care

  • Derby – send to the Social Worker and Team Manager for a threshold discussion, inclusive of LAC.

    See Derby CRE Service Offer;
  • Derbyshire - See Derbyshire CRE Operational Workflow (under Childrens Social Care Assessment and Planning);
  • The Child Protection Manager for Vulnerable Children (CPM-VC) should be contacted immediately if the level of risk is thought to be High and will organise a CRE High Risk Meeting, if the risk level is agreed.

4.6 Police Response

Intelligence regarding exploitation is monitored through fortnightly police and partner tasking meetings. This intelligence may come from Operation Liberty forms, anonymous sources, or member of the public. If there is information to suggest a child is in possession of or showing interest in knives or other weapons, then they would also be discussed at the police Knife Crime Tasking meeting. There may be requests through either forum to complete work with the child and information can be shared with the forums through the relevant CRE leads or operational staff who attend.

A child who is assessed as Medium or High Risk of Exploitation will be allocated as a Safeguarding Investigation to an investigator from the Child Exploitation Investigation Team. The allocated officer will be the point of contact for partners in relation to information sharing and will be responsible for being involved in the development of Safety Plans, Trigger Plans and for the delivery of any police actions or interventions.

Where Children at Risk of Exploitation are Perpetrators of Crime

When a child is under investigation for a criminal offence, and exploitation is considered to be a potential driver for the criminality, then the Officer investigating the potential exploitation of the child will also investigate the crime for which the child is under investigation. Examples of such criminality would be Possession with Intent to Supply a Controlled Substance (drugs).

Where a child has been exploited, manipulated or forced to offend then there are specific defenses available to them to prevent prosecution see Section 45 Modern Slavery Act 2015 and therefore exploitation needs to remain in the forefront of the investigators mind.

All cases of exploitation will be reviewed regularly, review meetings will consider the progress of the plan and further action required to reduce the risk. Please see Derby CRE Service Offer and Derbyshire CRE Operational Work Flow.

Where the Section 47 enquiry indicates there are a number of other concerns alongside the sexual exploitation, in particular neglectful or collusive parenting or where the CRE risks are very high, a Threshold discussion should be held with a Child Protection Manager. In exceptional circumstances consideration may need to be given for urgent protective steps to immediately safeguard the child. Any resultant Child Protection Plan must very clearly indicate the CRE risks and action to address them, alongside side any other safeguarding issues.

5. Co-ordination of Other Processes including SEND

Children who are at risk of exploitation will be supported either through Early Help provision, Child in Need (CIN) provision, Child Protection Plan or will be Children in Care. Both workflows will compliment this process.

Where the child is already subject to a Child Protection Plan for reasons unrelated to CRE, the Social Worker should complete the CRE Risk Assessment as above and liaise with the Child Protection Manager.

Plans for both CRE concerns and unrelated safeguarding concerns should be interlinked and complementary, ensuring ease of understanding for the family and the multi-agency group.

If the child is Looked After by the Local Authority, the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) must also be informed of any emerging concerns. CRE Meetings will be additional to Looked After Reviews but the timing should be co-ordinated according to the needs of the child. The social worker must consult with the IRO to ensure that they have full oversight of the arrangements in place to help protect the child. The IRO should be invited to any separate meetings and minutes shared with them.

If a child has an Education Health Care plan (EHCP), the SEND officer should be informed of any emerging concerns in respect of exploitation and the EHCP should reference the CRE concerns.

Note, that where children are placed out of area, and are identified as being at risk of CRE, Derby City LA and Derbyshire County LA and the hosting authority should coordinate the response and ensure attendance at respective meetings. Where there are challenges to this, the social worker or team manager should discuss with a CPM, who will contact the hosting authority CRE lead. This is also the case for S17 16 and 17yrs young people, living out of area.

Other agencies inclusive of Health, Police and Education should also link with the areas in which the child has been moved and ensure appropriate and effective information sharing. For children placed within Derby or Derbyshire from other areas, information should be sought and escalated if not available.

6. Care Leavers

In Derbyshire, where concerns in relation to exploitation are identified for care leavers, the DDSCP Care Leaver CRE toolkit (Documents Library, Report Forms and Templates) is to be used. The most appropriate practitioner to complete this piece of work with the young person will be identified by the team around the young person. This is a toolkit solely for post 18 vulnerable young adults who are open within Derbyshire's leaving care service.

The DDSCP Care Leaver CRE toolkit will inform involved practitioners as to the level and nature of risk for the young person, and support a framework of intervention and dispersal to help reduce the risk identified. Dependent on the urgency and nature of the risk, outcomes from the toolkit will be to either initiate a Vulnerable Adults Risk Management (VARM) or refer to the monthly Leaving Care Safety Panel (Derbyshire Children's Services Online Procedures Documents Library, Children in Care and Care Leavers, Leaving Care and Transition) where multi agency oversight is required.

Please see the Derby City process for Care Leavers:

Derby Protocol for the transfer of young adults from Children's Social Care to Adult Safeguarding Services where Sexual Exploitation, Female Genital Mutilation, Honour Based Violence, Forced Marriage and Criminal Exploitation is an identified on-going risk (Documents Library, Protocols Section).

7. National Guidance and Further Information

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 Abuse Strategy (2021)

Child sexual exploitation: Practice Tool (2017) (Research in Practice open access) – provides background information about child sexual exploitation and additional commentary around some of the complexities inherent in practically responding to the issue.

Disruption Strategies Interventions Options Tool

The links below provide updated risk and disruption toolkits for professional use.  Note that they are set out under specific titles to assist a more in-depth understanding of specific cultures, vulnerabilities, or group/individual risks. Further information and links are also provided in key agency and resource contacts below. See also: Child Exploitation Disruption Toolkit (2020).

Guidance Toolkits for Professionals from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Prevent Toolkits

ACT Early assets

ACTION: Please share and encourage your partners to share the social media posts about the new ACT Early videos.

 See the ACT Early – Partners Toolkit.

A news story is here: Counter Terrorism Policing - Letter to my Younger Self

Also see the following guidance:

The Serious Crime Act 2015 also considers response to Serious Youth Violence, where Criminal Exploitation is a concern.

It is important to understand grooming models: Barnardo's and NSPCC explain further.

See also:


PACE (parents against child sexual exploitation):  

Safe and Sound

Tel: 01332 362120

NSPCC Child Trafficking Advice Centre:

Tel: 0808 800 5000

UK Safer Internet Centre

Helpline: 0844 3814722

Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership:

DDSCP – Learning from Reviews