Tackling Child Exploitation

Child exploitation is extremely difficult to disentangle children from, such is the fear, control and coercion that they are subjected to. Children tell us they have been beaten, kidnapped, shamed, threatened with violence to them and their loved ones. Children tell us that professionals cannot keep them safe, the abusers are hidden, powerful and influential, they have accompanied children to appointments with professionals, made them record the sessions so they do not tell and present as an omni-present risk from which children can see no escape. 

Child exploitation is a crime with devastating and long lasting consequences for its victims and their families. Childhoods and family life can be ruined and this is made worse when victims, or those at risk of abuse, do not receive appropriate, immediate and ongoing support.

If you are concerned about a young person potentially experiencing exploitation please contact MASH – 020 8359 4066. If the matter is an emergency call 999.

In Barnet, we believe that both the criminal and sexual exploitation of children and young people is abuse. Young people experiencing this form of abuse can sometimes seem to have challenging and complex behaviour. This can often result in professionals and parents viewing the behaviour as the problem rather than the underlying coercion and control that the young person may be experiencing.

From looking at positive outcomes of young people who have been supported away from abusive and exploitative environments, our approach is based on: 

  • Ensuring that children are engaged at the earliest opportunities,  and the risk of extra familial harm is assessed as soon as possible. 
  • That professionals engage and understand the young person in a range of environment that the young person occupies such as; their home, education, social networks, local community and electronic and online spaces. 
  • That young person receive the appropriate intensity of intervention required to support change.
  • That professionals work from a relationship based approach that seeks to develop ‘trusted relationships’ between a child and safe adults that supports a secure base for the young person. 
  • There is collaborative approach built between the young person and professional that supports; coproduction, individual rights and enables a supported space that challenges perceptions, promotes reflection and can influence positive choices. 

You can understand some of the common indicators of criminal or sexual exploitation here.

If you are a charity or grass roots organisation, we will happily provide free training and briefings, please email  for more details.

Supporting local community events

Reducing Violence and Exploitation in our communities cannot be done alone, it requires a multi-faceted and systemic approach, over the last two years we have significantly developed a range of approaches to support capacity in our community to develop Restorative Approaches/Justice, to improve access of support for Victims of both reported and unreported crime, and improving community capacity to respond to increase tensions and to support collective healing when incidents of violence do occur. 

We are in the process of mobilising our detached youth and young adult engagement project, in our key areas to improve our community presence.

There are great community events happening, organised by grass roots services and charities.

We aim to support with:

  • resources
  • ideas
  • health and safety planning
  • connecting and building relationships between existing services

Community events are an opportunity to strengthen positive relationships and help communities 'own' their space.

Community safety

Community safety involves and affects both children and adults.

We support and share safeguarding concerns with The Community Safety Team when they are dealing with issues such as anti-social behaviour or neighbourhood disputes.

This means we look at the context behind behaviour and make sure we are taking a wrap-around approach when dealing with public incidents.