Major event to tackle Child Criminal Exploitation in Leeds (25 June 2019)

A major partnership conference was held in Leeds yesterday (25/06) aimed at tackling Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE), and the many forms that this may take, across the region.

The free event, which is part of Safeguarding Week and hosted by the Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership (LSCP), was specifically targeted at key organisations and practitioners working in child protection.

Practitioners across the city heard from key note speakers, as well as taking part in activities to enhance their understanding and response to child criminal exploitation through using the Partner Exploitation Checklist.

Dr Mark Peel, Independent Chair of Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership (LSCP), said: "CCE is a priority for the LSCP, safeguarding partners and local communities, and this event looked at aspects of exploitation and raise awareness of the risks faced by children and young people.

"I am delighted that Assistant Chief Constable Catherine Hankinson (West Yorkshire Police) and Councillor Lisa Mulherin (Leeds City Council) accepted invitations as guest speakers, along with significant contributions from Children's Social Work Services, the Youth Justice Service and the Police and Crime Commissioner.

"This is our first multi-agency event specifically focusing on CCE and also served to launch a new partner checklist for practitioners to use when they are concerned that a child may be vulnerable to CCE."

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), said: "Safeguarding our communities and in particular our young people has always been a priority of mine. A host of work has been carried out in this area including increased funding and resources, better co-ordination and information sharing, and sustained awareness raising campaigns.

"However, we are never complacent and will always strive to improve our services, something which absolutely has to be done in partnership. That is why it's so important to have events like the one in Leeds this week to continue to re-enforce that collaboration which is so key in tackling abuses and exploitation against young people."

Assistant Chief Constable Catherine Hankinson said: "It is vital that we all work together to protect children from individuals or groups who seek to take advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive them.

"We have done a lot of work with partners and the general public in raising awareness of child sexual exploitation but, while this forms part of child criminal exploitation, what we are seeing is emerging issues with young people being exploited across many different types of crime, including drug dealing, violence, gangs and modern slavery.

"Conferences like this are invaluable in bringing key organisations and child protection practitioners together in one room to ensure we work in collaboration to protect the most vulnerable members of our communities."

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019