New Government Guidance To Protect Children From Sexual Exploitation

Home Office circular 008 / 2009 New government guidance to protect children from sexual exploitation Broad subject: Crime and disorder …



Home Office circular 008 / 2009

New government guidance to protect children from sexual exploitation

  • Broad subject: Crime and disorder
  • Issue date: Mon Jul 20 11:05:42 BST 2009
  • From:
    Crime Reduction and Community Safety Group (CRCSG), Policing Policy and Operations
  • Linked circulars:
    No linked circulars

  • Sub category: Child abuse
  • Implementation date: Mon Jul 20 11:05:42 BST 2009
  • For more info contact:
    Wayne Dastur - 020 7035 4902, Wayne Jones - 020 7035 3236 

This circular is to remind Chief Constables of new statutory guidance to protect children and young people from sexual exploitation.  Specific parts of the guidance have direct relevance to the police and their response to investigating cases of child sexual exploitation.
The Home Office and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) launched new guidance on 10 June 2009 - Safeguarding Children and Young People from Sexual Exploitation.  It should be used within the framework of Working Together to Safeguard Children (2006) to ensure local agencies effectively address this form of child abuse.
The guidance is statutory and is aimed at local safeguarding children board (LSCB) members, which include police officers as well as other professionals responsible for the safeguarding and welfare of children and young people.  The guidance will help local agencies to:

  • develop local prevention strategies
  • identify those at risk of being sexually exploited
  • take action to safeguard and promote the welfare of particular children and young people who are being, or may be, sexually exploited
  • take action against those intent on abusing and exploiting children and young people in this way

The guidance can be found at the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) website

Police Engagement

The police need to be aware of the early indicators of risk of sexual exploitation and ensure appropriate early intervention to build up a relationship with the young person and to begin to gather evidence. Other specialist agencies or educational establishments should be consulted at an early stage. Identifying risk factors and addressing them through early interventions demonstrates care for the young victim and builds trust to enable exploitation to be challenged and minimised.
The identification of a child or young person involved in sexual exploitation, or at risk of being drawn into sexual exploitation, should always trigger the agreed local safeguarding children procedures to ensure the child’s safety and welfare, and to enable the police to gather criminal evidence about the perpetrators.  
While the police and criminal justice agencies will play a key role in identifying, disrupting and prosecuting perpetrators, other partners need to be involved in helping to record, gather and preserve evidence.  Suspected perpetrators may also be identified through neighbourhood policing or intelligence gathering to trace organised crime.
In sexual exploitation perpetrators may commit one or more of a range of offences, some more specifically linked to the abuse.  The police need to bear in mind the full range of offences that may be relevant.
Joint investigations of sexual exploitation can help to build local intelligence about suspects who may be responsible for exploiting children and young people.  This should enable the police and LA children’s social care to recognise situations where organised/complex abuse is taking place and instigate necessary investigations.