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Tackling Exploitation in Wolverhampton

Exploitation can come in many forms and our children and young people deserve to receive support and protection from the right agencies at the right time.In order to ensure that this happens, safeguarding agencies have been working together to improve the way they individually and collectively identify and support children, young people and families.On 22nd February 2021, those changes come into effect and will fundamentally change the way we work together to identify and respond to all forms of exploitation.

We know that when young people reach their adolescent years, they spend more and more time outside of the family home which can result in peer groups being more influential than family members.Unfortunately, this can result in young people being at risk of exploitation, missing episodes, involvement in gangs and youth violence and being the victims of trafficking.Traditional safeguarding approaches focus on whether a young person is at risk of harm posed within the home, or by the family and particularly looks at the capability and capacity of parents to keep them safe.For many young people at risk of exploitation, family members are doing everything they can to protect their children, but the pull factors outside of the family home are just too strong.

In an attempt to improve the response in Wolverhampton to young people at risk of exploitation, a significant amount of work has been undertaken to develop a whole system and whole partnership approach.

This has resulted in a number of changes to the local system which includes the introduction of two new exploitation screening tools, one for adults and one for children; a revised thresholds to support document; a new referral pathway; the introduction of a Partnership Exploitation and Missing Hub; and a review and extension of the role of our Child Exploitation and Missing Operational Group and Multi-Agency Child Exploitation meetings.

During December and January, a number of half day multi-agency workshops were delivered to over 250 professionals to promote the changes and to ensure that professionals working with children and young people in Wolverhampton have a good understanding of their role in identifying and responding to all forms of exploitation and the importance of taking a contextual safeguarding approach.

Five training modules have been developed which focus on child sexual exploitation; county lines; gangs; modern slavery; and missing.Each module lasts between one and a half and two and a half hours and can be completed over a 4 week period.If you work with children, young people and families in Wolverhampton, we strongly suggest that you complete this training.

For further information on the new ways of working and detail on how you can access the tools you need to be part of this change, visit WST Exploitation Pages.

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