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New programme to protect children at risk of exploitation

Children most at risk of being targeted by gangs or violent crime will benefit from better support from specialists across education, health, social care, police and the voluntary sector in a programme launched by Education Secretary Damian Hinds.

The new 'Tackling Child Exploitation Support Programme' is designed to improve how different local areas respond to child exploitation – such as gang, 'county lines' drug dealing, online grooming, sexual exploitation, trafficking or modern slavery – backed by £2 million. It will help equip professionals involved in the protection of young people to identify those most at risk from dangers in their communities and online.

National Police Chiefs' Council lead for child protection, Chief Constable Simon Bailey, said:

"The grooming techniques now being used by county lines gangs are similar to what we see in online sexual exploitation of children. Often young people don't see themselves as victims and are flattered by feeling part of a group and gifts, so they are less likely to speak to police.

"That's why a joined-up approach involving teachers, doctors, parents and others is crucial and this new programme will bring all our efforts together to help keep our young people safe. Child protection is a key policing priority and we will continue to do all we can to pursue and prosecute criminals who exploit the vulnerable."

The programme will be led by a team of academics and experts led by Research in Practice, together with The Children's Society and the University of Bedfordshire. They will consult widely with the sector to make sure the support available reflects local priorities and needs, building on the strong work already underway. Support available is likely to include:

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10/5/19