To view the Bedfordshire Violence and Reduction Strategy 2020-25 please click here
To view the Pan Bedfordshire Safeguarding Children from Child Sexual Exploitation procedure please click here
Please visit the Bedfordshire Against CSE website for further information
What is child sexual abuse through exploitation?
This is a form of sexual abuse, in which a child/young person is manipulated or forced into taking part in a sexual act. The abuser may physically or verbally threaten or be violent towards them. They will manipulate, groom and try to isolate the child/young person from friends and family. The abuser may control a child/young person through physical or psychological means or through the use of drugs for a sexual purpose. The child/young person may think that their abuser is their friend, or even their boyfriend or girlfriend.
Information Gap - Girls & Gangs
The Police have noted the emergence of certain gangs in Luton and Bedford consisting of a greater increase in cohorts of males and females. At present there is limited intelligence relating to the structure of these gangs and due to the size of some gang membership’s it is difficult to determine individual roles. However, some Intelligence does suggest that there are cohorts of girls associated to certain Gang’s members and in some cases, they are utilised for storing weapons, drugs and cash on behalf of the group. Some females have also been recruited, or used, for access to their bank accounts, in order to safely house or filter criminal proceeds.
Particular attention should also be given to females being recruited due to them being ‘isolated’ and away from family/friends, such as within Alternative Education Providers, University and College. Some females are also recruited through social media therefore, a worthy conversation to have with young females, during any engagement, is to ask what their social media activity looks like.
At present there are several intelligence gaps around the roles of these females and their involvement in criminality and exploitation. It has been noted that some females have been identified as being involved in violent incidents, the storing weapons and in some cases of being ‘ring-leaders’. This is believed to involve them recruiting other, possible younger, females who in turn are then exposed to possible criminal or sexual exploitation.
Please submit a Multi-Agency Information Submission Form if you have any current knowledge or experience of what has been described above or, if immediate, please contact the Police direct on 101. The following guidance document is available to help you complete the Multi-Agency Information Submission Form.
Spotting the Signs
Signs of Child Sexual Exploitation may include the child or young person:
- going missing for periods of time or arriving home late on a regular basis
- skipping school or being disruptive in class
- appearing with unexplained gifts or possessions that can’t be accounted for
- changes in temperament or suffering with mood swings or changes in emotional wellbeing
- experiencing health problems that may indicate a sexually transmitted infection
- using drugs and/or alcohol
- displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviour
- showing signs of unexplained physical harm, such as bruising and/or cigarette burns
Please access the LSCB course catalogue for further information around training.
Webinars and Briefings
Please see below webinars which have been produced by the University of Bedfordshire to further support CSE