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Safeguarding children from Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE)

To be used in conjunction with the Wales Safeguarding Procedures

Who is this practice guide for?

This guide is primarily for practitioners working with children (up to the age of 18).

This includes those working in early years, social care, education, health, the police, youth offending and youth, community and family support services (including the third sector) and foster care and residential care.

What is this guide for?

Safeguarding children is a responsibility shared by everyone in contact with children and young people.

The Wales Safeguarding Procedures support individuals and agencies across Wales to understand their roles and responsibilities in keeping children and adults safe. They support a consistent approach to safeguarding practice and procedures.

This practice guide provides additional information about safeguarding children from Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE). It should be used in conjunction with the Wales Safeguarding Procedures.

Effective safeguarding arrangements in every local authority area should be underpinned by two key principles:

There are some issues which are common across safeguarding practice guides and some which are specific to the safeguarding issue being considered:


Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) -

Is a form of child abuse which involves criminal exploitation and requires a safeguarding response

Children are involved in criminal activities including the movement of drugs or money which results in personal gain for an individual, group or organised criminal gang

Involves a child

It occurs to those up to the age of 18 years old.

Involves enticement and/or force

Involves an element of exchange and can still be exploitation even if the activity appears consensual.

Can involve force and/or enticement-based methods of compliance and is often accompanied by violence or threats of violence.

Is typified by some form of power imbalance in favour of those perpetrating the exploitation.

Introduction and evidence base

Indicators of Child Criminal Exploitation10

There are lots of different indicators of exploitation which should lead to the reporting of a child at risk and initiate safeguarding procedures. Only one indicator may be identified or there may be many indicators. A range of different people in the child’s life may have suspicions or information about a single but different indicator. Therefore it is important that any concern is reported as a safeguarding issue straight away so that further information can be sought from all of the agencies in the child’s life.

This is not a complete, exhaustive or exclusive list of indicators:

A proportionate response

If the child is at immediate risk or you suspect they may go missing before their safety can be secured contact the Police on 999.

When a child has been reported under section 130, the local authority must consider whether there are grounds for carrying out an investigation under section 47 of the Children Act 1989.


These organisations are there for all children and young people in Wales. Professionals and practitioners should let children know about these organisations and how to contact them.

Meic is the helpline service for children and young people up to the age of 25 in Wales. From finding out what’s going on in your local area to help dealing with a tricky situation, Meic will listen even when no-one else will. They won’t judge you and will help by giving you information, useful advice and the support you need to make a change. You can:

You can contact the Children's Commissioner for Wales Investigation and Advice service which is free and confidential. It’s there as a source of help and support if children and young people or those who care for them feel that a child’s been treated unfairly. You or you parent/carer can:

Childline is a free, private and confidential service where anyone under 19 can access support and advice. The Childline website has information and advice pages as well as tools to help you work through problems yourself. If you want to talk or chat to Childline you can:

If you want to talk to Childline in Welsh see

The Childrens Society

Are you worried about your child being criminally exploited?

What does criminal exploitation mean?

It important to know that you are not alone and not to blame. There are many parents and carers in similar situations and there are things you can do to help protect your child:

Don’t be worried about contacting the police – you are trying to protect your child

Getting help and support

Lots of children and young people and their families need some help and support sometimes.

If you would like some support for your child and family then you can find out about local services by contacting:

Family Point Cymru

0300 222 57 57


The police or someone else who works with your child might offer to make a referral to social services so that they can decide if your child has care and support needs and what help they can offer your child and family.

If the police or someone else is worried that your child is at risk of harm they will report this to social services so that they can assess if support needs to be put in place to help keep your child safe.

Certain frontline staff who encounter a potential victim modern slavery or human trafficking have a duty to notify the Home Office under Section 52 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 This requirement applies to the Police, Local Authorities, the National Crime Agency and the Gangmasters Labour and Abuse Authority. Supporting guidance and resources have been issued in relation to the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

1 Home Office (2017) Criminal Exploitation of children and vulnerable adults: County Lines guidance




5 JSNA Report (2015) Child Exploitation

6 Child Welfare Information Gateway, Issue Brief, November 2009, Understanding the Effects of maltreatment on Brian Development , US Department of Health and Human Services



9 The Children’s Society, Victim Support and NPCC (2018) Young People Trafficked for the Purpose of Criminal Exploitation in Relation to County Lines- A Toolkit for Professionals

10 Modern-Slavery-Guide-2018.pdf