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Our Safeguarding Team

Mrs Aggreh is our Safeguarding Lead
​Mrs Holland is our named Safeguarding Governor


Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES)

Adverse childhood experiences research tells us that early childhood experiences, particularly adverse ones - such as poverty, deprivation, physical or sexual abuse, having a parent or carer with a mental health problem, witnessing domestic conflict or violence - have an impact on mental health. The greater the number of adverse childhood experiences (ACES) a child faces before the age of 18, the greater their chance of poorer outcomes in adulthood. More information here.


Contextual Safeguarding

Contextual safeguarding recognises that as young people grow and develop they are influenced by a whole range of environments and people outside of their family. For example in school, in the local community, in their peer groups or online. Children and young people may encounter risk in any of these environments. Sometimes the different contexts are inter-related and can mean that children and young people may encounter multiple risks. Contextual safeguarding looks at how we can best understand these risks, engage with children and young people and help to keep them safe. It's an approach that's often been used to apply to adolescents, though the lessons can equally be applied to younger children, especially in today's changing world.

Here are some examples of risk factors

Helpful Resources for Parents

The government has launched a campaign called 'Together we can tackle child abuse'. The resources, aimed at everyone in the community, include four very short videos explaining physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and online abuse. 
The simple mnemonic, ABC, is used to remind people that they should look out for changes in appearance, behaviour or communication. The webpage has a search engine to find out where to report abuse.
For more information, google ‘together we can tackle child abuse'.

Other useful websites:

The NSPCC website has lots of advice around the following safeguarding areas: self harm, online safety, talking about drugs and alcohol, talking about difficult topics, talking PANTS with your child and dealing with divorce and separation, click here

Pantosaurus -  click here

Red cross wellbeing support, click here

County Lines

What is county lines?

County line gangs use children and young people to prepare, store, deliver and sell drugs around the country or within their local communities by using coercion, intimidation, debt bondage (creating a debt the child has to pay back), violence and/or grooming. Gangs use children because they are cheaper, more easily controlled and less likely to get picked up by the police. Children exploited by county lines can be sent to different towns/county within the United Kingdom to carry out tasks for the gangs.

Where gangs have targeted a particular area, they typically use a local property, generally belonging to a vulnerable person, as a base for their activities. This is known as cuckooing. Whilst we see many children moved to locations outside of their own town as part of the county lines process, it’s important to remember that children can be being exploited within their own town by county lines gangs and never go missing from home. This is a way of the gangs remaining unseen, using children who do not ‘flag’ up on systems.

Targeting of vulnerable children

There has been a lot of discussion around vulnerability of children who are targeted for the purposes of exploitation. All children are vulnerable. There are many reasons targeting children is an attractive process for offenders as listed above, but essentially it is the offenders targeting and involvement/interest in the child that increases or creates a vulnerability.
Offenders are very good at using any issue a child may share with them, or that may be visibly obvious to the offender to create a connection and fill a need, such as bullying, safety within the local area, or low self-esteem.

Male and female children are exploited by gangs. However, there is still very limited research and understanding about girls in gangs. The lack of information and understanding impacts how visible females are and how they are assessed in risk and harm assessments. It is thought that 15-16 years is the most common age for children to be exploited by gangs but there are reports of children below the age of 11 years being used. They were simply an exploited workforce. Children are very disposable by the gangs but often they won’t see this, and remain loyal. Often from the grooming they have experienced, the ‘codes’ they have been initiated into or from fear. Gangs are increasingly looking to recruit ‘clean skins’ i.e. children with no previous criminal record who are unlikely to be stopped by the police.

Grooming and coercion

Gangs often use threats, coercion and violence to force children to do what they want. Punishments are common for children involved within county lines. This is usually for mistakes deemed to have been made. The gang will respond with often physical or financial punishments for the child. The punishments can be extremely violent such as stabbings, and acid attacks. The financial punishments often mean any mistakes made that lose money for the gang have to be repaid with an extortionate amount of money added on top as interest. Often this will just keep getting added to. Gangs may also trick children into getting into their debt, for example, by giving them a mobile phone or drugs only to later demand repayment for the cost. The child will then be in ‘debt bondage’ to the gang as described above. Peer grooming is common and can take place in schools, social media and contexts where children meet. Social media is used in multiple ways, to glamorise/normalise drug selling/gang involvement and criminality, but also used to sell and advertise the drugs.

Victim not suspect

There is currently still a lack of awareness and understanding of Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) and it is often the case that victims are mistakenly viewed as having made a ‘choice’ to engage in criminal behaviour.
Due to the grooming process children involved in criminal exploitation can often not see themselves as victim’s which can further complicate the issue of supporting the child to be recognised as a victim of criminal exploitation. Children who are being exploited by gangs for their criminal purposes are victims and they should be safeguarded, not criminalised. This is in UK law, under The Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Beings. It states victims shouldn’t be criminalised for crimes committed whilst they were being trafficked.

Some key facts to remember with regards to criminal exploitation include:

Who is targeted?
Both males and females can be exploited. 14 to 17 are the most often targeted age group, however children as young as 10 are often targeted too.

Where are children targeted?
Children and young people are targeted and groomed for criminal exploitation across all areas of the UK. One current trend is young people being targeted in cities to sell in less drug saturated new locations and children from those areas also being targeted to sell drugs.

Children and young people can be vulnerable to targeting at:

  • Pupil referral units,
  • Alternative education provisions,
  • Special education needs provisions,
  • Care homes/placements

Concealing and carrying drugs
Children and young people can be shown how, or made, to internally insert and carry drugs in their rectum or vagina. Children and young people can often store wrapped drugs in their cheeks, which can then be more easily swallowed if approached by police. Children and young people are often given targets to sell drugs to, given modes of transport such as bikes or train tickets, weapons to protect themselves, and a phone with drug users’ contacts on it.

Trap houses
The children and young people will be sent to ‘trap’ houses, or ‘bandos’ where they will be made to sell drugs for anything from a few days to six weeks or more.  These established bases can often involve exploitation of vulnerable adults. Children and young people may be at risk of harm from the vulnerable adults who may also be being exploited by the gangs, eg using their homes as a trap house. Those adults often have their own needs such as learning disabilities, substance misuse or mental health issues, and there have been instances of harm to children and young people perpetrated by those individuals.

Children and young people can receive money, and other items but equally they can receive non-tangible returns such as the feelings of protection, belonging and even love.

Phone lines
The phone lines can be worth thousands of pounds. There is monetary value in the selling of drugs and weapons, and also sexual exploitation related to this type of trafficking. This creates a place where perpetrators can have financial gain through the victimhood of children and vulnerable adults.

Debt bondage
The gangs have been known to set up children and young people in staged robberies, meaning that the child or young person believes they are in debt to the perpetrators. This is known as ‘debt bondage’, where the child or young person believes they have to work for free to pay off the debt. This can also apply if the child or young person is genuinely robbed, or if they are arrested and have drugs, money or the phone confiscated by police.

For more information about County Lines please click on  these links.
The Childrens Society

Online Safeguarding

Advice for pupils:

  • Always be careful when you are using the internet. It can help you to keep in touch with your friends and help your education, but it can also cause harm; to you and to others.
  • Remember help is always available at school if you are having any problems online.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to your teacher or another adult at school.

Potential online risks can include:

  • Access and exposure to inappropriate /disturbing images and content
  • Access and exposure to racist or hate material
  • Sexual grooming, luring, abuse, and exploitation by/with strangers
  • Sharing personal information with strangers that could identify and locate a child offline
  • Online bullying (cyberbullying) by peers and people they consider their ‘friends’
  • Being encouraged to take part in violent behaviour such as ‘happy slapping’
  • Sending or receiving sexually explicit films, images, or messages of themselves or others (this is known as sexting when sent by mobile phone)
  • Glorifying activities such as drug-taking or excessive drinking
  • Physical harm to young people in making video content, such as enacting and imitating stunts and risk-taking activities
  • Leaving and running away from home as a result of contacts made online.

Advice for parents and carers:

There are several ways to help keep children and young people safe online:

  • Educate yourself and children and young people know about the dangers online
  • Tell them what they should do if anything goes wrong online or upsets them i.e. tell someone about it
  • Explain that anything shared online or by mobile phone could end up being seen by anyone
  • Ensure computers and laptops are used where you can see and not out of sight in a bedroom
  • Use parental settings, filtering software, and privacy setting to block inappropriate sites and content

To visit our online safety resource page click here

Our Early Help Offer

More information on our early help offer here 

Prevent Duty

Mrs Aggreh is our Prevent Lead

All of our staff recieve regular Prevent training in School. 

Access Prevent Training for staff here

Keeping Children Safe in Education

Access Keeping Children Safe in Education September 2023 here

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