A child can fall very quickly into sexual exploitation and the response should be both rapid and dynamic. The primary consideration will always be the protection and safety of the child or young person, but it is also important that professionals have a collective responsibility to bring perpetrators to justice. Agencies need to involve all their partners and utilise as many of their own internal departments as they can. The Serious Case Review into CSE in Oxfordshire identified that the fight against CSE required different skills, citing a need for “police officers to act more like social workers, social workers to act more like detectives”. We couldn’t agree more and liken CSE cases to a relay race, where at appropriate stages the baton is passed between police, social care, health, education etc. The rest of the team are always on the side-line ensuring the baton isn’t dropped and collectively encouraging the side to get over the finish line. It is principally a partnership between the lead CSE police officer and the lead social worker, with management support from all sides.
In the last of our CSE factsheets for safeguarding professionals we take a look at the actions that should be taken when dealing with a young person at risk of CSE, and also provide some tactics and options that are at our disposal.