Launch of new Be Aware online knowledge hub to tackle child exploitation in North Yorkshire

A new safeguarding strategy and knowledge hub has been launched, to continue the fight against all forms of child exploitation in North Yorkshire.

North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Partnership (NYSCP) has launched the new strategy and information resource as part of its continued work in tackling all forms of Child Exploitation across North Yorkshire and ensuring the right resources, training and skills are in place.

Child Exploitation is a form of child abuse which affects the lives of children, young people, their families and communities in North Yorkshire and its impact on children can be destructive and long-lasting.  When a child or young person is exploited they are often groomed and given things such as gifts, drugs, money, status and affection. Abusers can also use violence or intimidation to frighten or force a child or young person into doing something they don’t want to do, or give them large sums of money or drugs which can’t be repaid in order to control them. Usually this is in exchange for carrying out criminal activity or performing sexual activities. Trafficking children to other parts of the country to take part in criminal or sexual activities is also often a feature of exploitation.

It is important that the perpetrators of abuse are quickly identified and dealt with and that children, families and communities can spot the early signs of child exploitation, and know how to keep children safe and seek help.

The partnership is made up of North Yorkshire County Council, North Yorkshire Police and NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commission Group (CCG) and launched its new Multi-Agency Child Exploitation and Contextual Safeguarding Strategy this month (March). It outlines its four key priorities in this area;

  • Enabling partners and communities to work together to protect children and young people
  • Focus on prevention and engagement of children, young people, parents and carers
  • Strengthen multi-agency work in response to children and young people identified as at risk and the targeting and disruption of those who pose a risk of harm and locations of concern
  • Utilise Research, Innovation and Quality Assurance to strengthen practice.

The partnership intends to achieve their aims over the next three years is by helping professionals access the latest training materials, resources and social media assets through a central knowledge hub called Be Aware. It can be found via website; The hub will be continually updated with the most up-to-date training and information on;

  • Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
  • Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE)
  • Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking (MSHT)
  • Missing from Home (MFH)
  • Harmful Sexual Behaviour (HSB)
  • Online Exploitation
  • Wider Contextual Safeguarding

Be Aware covers information on how to spot the signs of the different forms of exploitation, what to do if they are concerned about a child and a range of other resources to use with children, families and other professionals. The hub will also support parents, carers and children with information.

Danielle Johnson, Head of Safeguarding at North Yorkshire County Council said: “Sadly, every region in the UK is affected by child exploitation and North Yorkshire is no exception. The most common form of criminal exploitation of children relates to County Lines and we know children in towns and villages in North Yorkshire have been forced by violent criminal gangs to transport drugs and money as well as experience other forms of exploitation.

“The new strategy and knowledge hub is designed to strengthen the partnership’s response, engaging young people, as well as their families and professional agencies to help prevent them falling victim to exploitation and to find the support they need, as well as targeting the perpetrators.”

Sue Peckitt, Chief Nurse with NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “The new knowledge hub will be an incredibly useful tool for healthcare professionals in North Yorkshire and will help ensure we can continue to play our part in tackling child exploitation and abuse.”

A copy of the full MACE and Contextual Safeguarding Strategy can be accessed via the website through the link;