Criminal exploitation

Criminal exploitation

What criminal exploitation is and the types of criminal exploitation such as knife crime and gang related activities.

Have you seen a change in their behaviour or routines?

  • do they have unexplained money, clothing or gifts?
  • do you think they maybe being criminally exploited?

If you have an immediate safeguarding concern for a child, you must call the police on 999.

If your concern is about activity in the Worcestershire area which you believe may indicate crimes being committed for example drug dealing or Modern-Day Slavery, please contact the police on 101.

Contact Get Safe

What does criminal exploitation mean?

This is when children are used by people, sometimes older or in gangs or groups, for criminal activity such as carrying or selling drugs or weapons, running money, involved in robberies or hiding things.

When children are sent by others to commit crime that is of benefit to the person, gang or group, this is criminal exploitation and trafficking. It is important to know you are not alone. There are many parents and carers in similar situations and there are things you can do:

  • speak to your child and tell them what you are worried about.
  • let them know they are not in trouble and that you are worried.
  • if your child has missed a curfew time and you have exhausted all avenues to locate them, consider reporting them missing to the police.
  • where possible keep a record of any worrying activity as it will help find out what is happening
  • be aware that there may be threats against you or your family that your chid is worried about from those who are exploiting your child - your child may believe they are protecting you

Types of criminal exploitation

Knife crime

Let us help you talk to your child about knife crime now

Did you know? Just 30 seconds can change a life.

Knife crime  isn’t a gang issue.

If you carry a knife, you’re 51 per cent more likely to have it used against you.

Watch our short video of local parent’s Mark and Beverly Brindley whose son James was stabbed by a teenager, giving simple tips on having that conversation.

Further information

 #LifeorKnife - Explore our new #LifeorKnife site which is full of helpful tips and information for both you and your child. You can also look at 10 simple steps image on how to have a conversation with your child.

Crimestoppers - Remember you can report anonymously through CrimeStoppers.
Together we can all tackle knife crime and keep our children safe

Gang-related activity

Defining a gang is difficult, they tend to fall into three categories: peer groups, street gangs  and organised crime groups. 

It can be common for groups of children and young people to gather together in public places to socialise, and although some  peer group gatherings can lead to increased anti social behaviour and low level youth offending, these activities should not be confused with the serious violence of a street gang.

A street gang will engage in criminal activity and violence and may lay claim over territory. They may have some form of identifying structure featuring a hierarchy usually based on age, physical strength, propensity to violence or older sibling rank. 

There maybe  certain rites involving antisocial or criminal behaviour or sex acts in order to become part of the gang. They are in conflict with other similar gangs.

Links to services that can support you and your family

Going missing

If a child or young person goes missing from home, care or school it can be a worrying time for everyone involved. Missing children may also be vulnerable to other forms of exploitation, to violent crime, gang exploitation, or to drug and alcohol misuse.

Missing people is a charity who can help search for missing people on behalf of the friends and family left behind and provide specialised support to ease their heartache and confusion. Their free, confidential helpline is available 24 hours a day by phone, text and email to support missing children and adults, and their loved ones.

Services that can support you and your family

Honour based violence and female genital mutilation

International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation 6 February

Honour based violence

​Honour based violence (HBV) can affect men and women across a number of cultures and communities and is defined as a crime or incident committed to protect or defend the honour of the family. Issues including choice of dress, friends, relationships and careers can all be perceived as impacting on a family's honour. HBV has the potential to be both a domestic abuse and child abuse concern.

Honour based violence can be distinguished from other forms of violence as it is often committed with some degree of approval and/or collusion from family and/or community members.

Honour based links to services that can support you and your family

Female genital mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the partial or total removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It's also known as female circumcision or cutting.

Religious, social or cultural reasons are sometimes given for FGM. However, FGM is child abuse. It's dangerous and a criminal offence.

FGM links to services that can support you and your family

Police and boarder forces have powers to intervene and protect call 999.

Trafficking and modern day slavery

Modern day slavery is any form of forced human exploitation for labour or service, such as human trafficking and forced labour.

This can include debt bondage, where a person is forced to work for free to pay off a debt, child slavery, forced marriage, domestic servitude and forced labour, where victims are made to work through violence and intimidation.

Modern Slavery is the term used within the UK and is defined within the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

These crimes include holding a person in a position of slavery, servitude forced or compulsory labour, or facilitating their travel with the intention of exploiting them soon after.

Although human trafficking often involves an international cross-border element, it is also possible to be a victim of modern slavery within your own country.

It is possible to be a victim even if consent has been given to be moved. Children cannot give consent to being exploited therefore the element of coercion or deception does not need to be present to prove an offence.

Services that can support you and your family

Worrying behaviours in a child or young person

Displaying behaviours that may be ‘risky’: going missing from home or school; going to areas known for criminal exploitation; substance use; committing crime.

Displaying behaviours that may be ‘suspicious’: unexplained money, clothing or gifts; using a mobile phone a lot and being secretive; having more than one phone and changing their phone number a lot

Changing relationships: not seeing their usual friends; seeing new friends who are know to be risky or involved with crime; continuing to see friends against parents wishes.

Decline in mental health and wellbeing: evidence of physical or sexual assault; sexually transmitted diseases, changing appearance (weight loss, changes to personal hygiene, signs of exhaustion); self-harm or significant changes in emotional wellbeing.

Parents or carers experiencing challenging behaviours: the child or young person is not doing well at school; violence against parents; loss of parental control

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