Child Abduction Warning Notices (CAWN’s) 2022 update

In the second of our three articles looking at Child Abduction, we take a look at Child Abduction Warning Notices (CAWNS), what they are used for, the processes involved and the law if they are breached.

In recent years CAWN’s have become a valuable tool in the fight against Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE). Now, they are also being used in some cases of Child Criminal Exploitation, normally served upon members of county lines criminal networks to prevent children being harboured. Whilst the increase in the numbers of CSE related CAWN’s is encouraging, we feel than many professionals have lost sight of the fact that they were introduced to deal with children who had gone missing, regardless of whether there was an exploitation element or not.

This Exploitation/CAWN relationship has got to the point where we are aware of professionals, who in missing strategy meetings, openly dismiss a CAWN because there is no exploitation risk in the case being discussed. We would never dream of discouraging professionals from issuing notices where the exploitation element is present, but our message is this, – not all children that are harboured, are done so for the purpose of exploitation. CAWN’s are still relevant and a good tactic, irrespective of whether the harbourer has an exploitative intent.

We hope you find the guide useful.

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