Derbyshire Victim Services

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Children at Risk of Exploitation

What is it?

Children at risk of exploitation (CRE) includes any child at risk of suffering from any form of exploitation. CRE is split in to two main forms of exploitation: Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), and Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE). There are similarities between the two forms of exploitation and they may overlap, with victims of child exploitation often subjected to both sexual and criminal exploitation. There are also similarities between CRE and other forms of exploitation, such as extremism and radicalisation, modern slavery, and serious violence, including gang violence.


Sexual exploitation of children and young people under 18 involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people (or a third person or persons) receive ‘something’ (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of them performing, and/or another or others performing on them, sexual activities. Child sexual exploitation can occur through the use of technology without the child’s immediate recognition; for example, being persuaded to post sexual images on the Internet/mobile phones without immediate payment or gain. In all cases, those exploiting the child/young person have power over them by virtue of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or economic or other resources. Violence, coercion and intimidation are common, with involvement in exploitative relationships being characterised in the main by the child or young person’s limited availability of choice resulting from their social/economic and/or emotional vulnerability.


Criminal exploitation of children and young people under the age of 18 tends to involve an individual or group taking advantage of an imbalance of social, economic or emotional power to manipulate, control or deceive a child into committing criminal activities. The child or young person may receive ‘something’ (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) in exchange for the criminal activity committed, and so the child may have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears to be consensual. Child criminal exploitation does not require physical contact, and may have been facilitated through the use of technology. Common examples of CCE include, but are not limited to, coercing children to steal or involving children in County Lines drugs networks, which often use children and young people to move and store drugs and money using coercion, intimidation and (sometimes sexual) violence.

What are the signs?

• going missing for periods of time or regularly returning home late

• skipping school or being disruptive in class

• appearing with unexplained gifts or possessions that can’t be accounted for

• experiencing health problems that may indicate a sexually transmitted infection

• having mood swings and changes in temperament

• using drugs and/or alcohol

• displaying inappropriate sexualised or criminalised behaviour, such as over-familiarity with strangers, changes to the way the person dresses (dressing in a sexualised manner for example) or sending sexualised images by mobile phone (“sexting”)

• They may also show signs of unexplained physical harm, such as bruising and cigarette burns

Sarah’s Law (Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme)

If you are worried about someone’s behaviour towards a child, or something you’ve seen, heard or been told, you can use Sarah’s Law to find out if that person is a risk. Anyone who is worried about someone’s behaviour towards a child can apply, not just a child’s parents. This includes people like a grandparent, neighbour or friend.

The Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme lets you formally ask the police whether someone who has contact with a child or children:

  • has a record for child sexual (paedophile) offences
  • poses a risk to the child or children for some other reason

 For more information, or to use Sarah’s Law, please visit Derbyshire Constabulary’s website.

How to report it?

In an emergency situation, always dial 999. To report a crime in any other circumstances, contact police on the non-emergency number 101. Alternatively, you can contact any of the organisations below.

The Police and Crime Commissioner funds organisations that provide support services for victims and witnesses in Derbyshire. These are free of charge and are available to anyone who lives in Derbyshire. For children at risk of exploitation, these support services are provided by Catch 22.


From January 2020 Catch22 has provided the service to protect and support children and young people vulnerable to exploitation across Derbyshire. They deliver bespoke support and interventions to children and young people to build resilience and aspiration, empowering them to take control of their lives and supporting them to stay safe.



CEOP (Child Exploitation Online Protection) provides advice about staying safe online for both children and parents, and allows victims to report any online behaviour they are uncomfortable with.


SV2 (Supporting Victims of Sexual Violence) offers a wide range of support for both recent and historical victims of sexual violence which include counselling, therapy and an independent advocacy service.
01773 746 115 

Derbyshire LGBT+

The group is Derbyshire’s only LGBT specific support service for anyone who is LGBT or anyone who is having issues with their sexual identity or gender identity. They also provide services for Child Sexual Exploitation and Domestic Abuse.
01332 207704

SAIL Derbyshire

SAIL is a registered charity, established in 1992, based in Chesterfield. We offer free, specialist counselling, drama therapy, art therapy and other complimentary therapies for adults aged 18 and over in Derbyshire who have experienced childhood sexual abuse, incest or sexual violence.

We have peer groups and a move on group for those who have completed counselling. Sail counselling is delivered in locations across the County, service users do not have to travel to Chesterfield to access this.

Call our free helpline for support. Open 10am to 2pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays 4pm – 8pm and Thursdays 10am – 4pm
0800 028 2678

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