Child criminal exploitation – spot the signs
There is a growing concern about child criminal exploitation (CCE) in Norfolk. CCE happens when an individual or group takes advantage of a child under the age of 18 and coerces, controls, manipulates or deceives them into criminal activity.
As part of the grooming process, children may be offered money, clothes and mobile phones. Violence, intimidation and weapons may also be used to reinforce the exploiter’s position of power and control.
An increasing number of children and vulnerable adults in the county are being exploited by gangs involved in drug crime. Gangs are based in larger cities (in Norfolk’s case this is mostly London) and use children to courier drugs and money into new areas – known as ‘county lines’.
A child or vulnerable adult who is being exploited may show certain signs and changes in behaviour. It’s crucial to know how to spot the warning signs which could include: going missing, unexplained absences, having unexpected cash, phones, gifts or jewellery, becoming secretive, being hostile or disruptive.
Norfolk County Council is part of a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) working to support young people who are victims or at risk. The team brings together a range of workers including social workers, staff from the Youth Offending Team, Norfolk Police and community health and care partners.
For more information about CCE and a detailed list of signs and behaviours to look out for, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/CCE
If you think a child or vulnerable adult is at risk of criminal or sexual exploitation in Norfolk:
Call 0344 800 8020 and speak to someone at Norfolk’s Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)
Ring 101 to speak to Norfolk Police. In an emergency always dial 999.
Ring 0800 555 111 for Crimestoppers or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org