Contextual safeguarding

Child exploitation

The Home Office defines Child Criminal Exploitation as:

"Child Criminal Exploitation... occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18. 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. Criminal exploitation of children... includes for instance children forced to work on cannabis farms or to commit theft."

All agencies across Coventry are committed to safeguarding children and young people from being exploited. Some common forms of child exploitation include sexual (CSE), child trafficking, modern slavery, radicalisation and violent extremism and criminal exploitation (for example County Lines).

Young people may be exploited into criminal activity or violence by other young people or by adults. Child exploitation occurs across all communities and whilst some young people may have extra additional vulnerabilities or protective factors, no child is immune to possible attempts to exploit them.

Any sudden changes in a young person's lifestyle should be discussed with them, and the following signs may be a cause for concern:

  • Persistently going missing from school or home and/or being found out-of-area
  • Unexplained acquisition of money or possessions e.g. mobile phone, clothes/trainers
  • Excessive receipt of phone calls or messages
  • Relationship with older /controlling individuals or groups
  • Leaving home/care without explanation
  • Suspicion of physical assault or unexplained injuries
  • Parent concerns
  • Carrying weapons
  • Significant decline in school results, attendance or performance
  • Gang association or isolation from peers or social networks
  • Self-harm or significant changes in emotional well-being
  • Use of new/inappropriate language or words

If you would like more information or resources on different types of Child Exploitation please refer to our specific sections, and visit the Horizon Team's exploitation pages. However, the arena of Child Exploitation is constantly evolving and changing, if you have a concern please see the contact details below to discuss a specific case.

If you think a child is in immediate danger always call the emergency services on 999.

To discuss a non-emergency matter with the Police call 101.

If you are concerned that a child or young person is being harmed or is at risk of harm, but there is no immediate danger, or you need advice or information, please call Coventry Children's Social Care at the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 024 7678 8555.

Out of office hours please call the Emergency Duty Social Worker on 024 7683 2222.

Child Exploitation Indicator Tool and Guidance.

Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB) form.

CSCP training

The CSCP provides various training in areas linked to child exploitation, please see our training brochure 2019/2020 for courses available.

Further information and resources

Trauma resources

Child Criminal Exploitation

Alfie's Story parts 1 & 2

Child Sexual Exploitation

  • The Children's Society - Spot the Signs of Child Sexual Exploitation

  • Video about Consent - Tea and Consent


Coventry Safeguarding Children Partnership (CSCP)

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 024 7697 5477


This team cannot take calls related to individual children or families. To discuss an individual or a case
please call Coventry Children’s Social Care at the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)
on 024 7678 8555.

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