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Exploitation is a form of abuse, is often characterised by an imbalance of power, exchange and (the restriction or absence of) consent.

Exploitation occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive a child (under the age of 18 years):
(a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants and/or
(b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator.

The victim may be exploited for criminal or sexual purposes and can include forced labour, organ harvesting, domestic servitude, and forced marriage.

DSPP, in partnership with the Dudley Exploitation Hub, have produced a Child Exploitation Strategy, this is available to view below:


To make a referral around any form of exploitation please complete an online Multi Agency Referral Form (MARF) via the Dudley Children's Portal site

A Child Exploitation Screening Tool should also be completed and emailed to the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub at


Any child or young person in Dudley who is known or suspected to be exploited, or at risk of exploitation, can be referred to statutory services for consideration of support or intervention. Likewise, potential perpetrators of exploitation, or places where exploitation is suspected to take place, can be referred for consideration of intervention, prevention, or disruption activity.

Below is information regarding the Multi-Agency Child Exploitation (MACE) and Child Exploitation Operational Group (CEOG) meetings alongside a process flowchart for child exploitation:

Child Sexual Exploitation

Child Sexual Exploitation is a form of sexual abuse and a hidden crime. Young people often know their abuser and trust them, and don't understand or realise that they're being abused. To them, this is normal behaviour.

Children and young people may be tricked into believing they're in a loving, consensual relationship. In some cases, young people are persuaded or forced into exchanging sexual activity for money, drugs, gifts, affection or status. They might be invited to parties and given drugs and alcohol. They may depend on their abuser or be too scared to tell anyone what's happening. Child sexual exploitation doesn't always involve physical contact and can happen online.

More information on CSE is available on the NSPCC website

DSPP have produced an eLearning package on CSE

Child Criminal Exploitation

This occurs when the victim is coerced and manipulated into criminal activities; for example, children forced or coerced into transporting drugs, working in cannabis farms, laundering money or to commit theft.

County Lines

This is the term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs into one or more importing areas within the UK, using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of ‘deal line’. They are likely to exploit children to move and store the drugs and money and they will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons (Home Office, 2018)

Visit the NSPCC website for more information on CCE

DSPP have produced a CCE eLearning package 


Although looked after children are particularly vulnerable when they go missing, the majority of children who go missing are not looked after, and go missing from their family home. They can face the same risks as a child missing from local authority care. The same measures are often required to protect both groups of children.

Police definitions

Since April 2013 police forces have been rolling out new definitions of ‘missing’ and ‘absent’ in relation to children and adults reported as missing to the police. These are:

  • Missing: anyone whose whereabouts cannot be established and where the circumstances are out of character, or the context suggests the person may be subject of crime or at risk of harm to themselves or another; and
  • Absent: a person not at a place where they are expected or required to be.

The full statutory guidance on children who run away or go missing from care is available on  

Modern Slavery

Modern Slavery is the term used within the UK and is defined within the Modern Slavery Act 2015. The Act categorises offences of Slavery, Servitude and Forced or Compulsory Labour and Human Trafficking.

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. 

More information on Modern Slavery can be found on the Safe and Sound website

DSPP have produced an eLearning package on Modern Slavery

Online Harm

The internet is an integral part of everyday life for many people. Nearly nine in ten UK adults and 99% of 12 to 15 year olds are online. As the internet continues to grow and transform our lives, often for the better, we should not ignore the very real harms which people face online every day.

In the wrong hands the internet can be used to spread terrorist and other illegal or harmful content, undermine civil discourse, and abuse or bully other people. Online harms are widespread and can have serious consequences.

Information and useful links around online safety can be found on the Safe and Sound Help Hub

DSPP have produced a number of Online Safety eLearning modules that can be accessed here


Radicalisation occurs when someone has their vulnerabilities or susceptibilities exploited towards crime or terrorism - most often by a third party, who has their own agenda. Radicalisation is usually a process not an event. During that process it is possible to intervene to prevent vulnerable people being drawn into terrorist related activity.

The Home Office define ‘extremism’ as vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.

Section 26 of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a duty on Local Authorities to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism, trafficking/modern slavery and other adult safeguarding issues.
It is important to recognise that these terms do not necessarily work in isolation and various forms of exploitation and modern slavery may be operating concurrently.

Safe and Sound's Help Hub has more information regarding the Prevent Duty in Dudley


A number of exploitation training courses will be launched to complement the strategy. The Introduction to Exploitation course will launch during early 2022, this will be a level 2 multi-agency course that will need to be completed before completing additional modules on specific areas of exploitation.

For more information, please visit the Learning Zone section of our website


More Information

My Safety Plan

The My Safety Plan is a framework developed to support those young people who are vulnerable or experiencing harm outside of the home within extra familial contexts, for example online, in schools, neighbourhoods etc. If a child is vulnerable or suffering / likely to suffer significant harm, however the context of risk sits outside of the family home, and parents/carers are doing everything they can to care for their child, then a My Safety Plan may be a more effective approach than a Child in Need Plan / Child Protection Plan.

The My Safety Plan Framework ultimately follows similar processes as those within Child in Need / Child Protection intervention, for example initial meetings, plans, visits, and reviews, but it recognises the context of the risk for the young person.

The My Safety Plan Framework is being adopted in Dudley and will be overseen by the Dudley Exploitation Hub. In terms of the process, following referral, a Child and Young Person’s Assessment should be completed alongside a Contextual Safeguarding Screening Tool. If a My Safety Plan is recommended, then an Initial My Safety Plan Meeting should take place, followed by My Safety Plan Progress Checks and My Safety Plan Reviews.

For more information on the My Safety Plan process contact the Dudley Exploitation Hub via email on