Last updated 12/11/2018
This protocol has been developed to ensure consistency in the management of children and young people who are Criminally Exploited or affected by gang activity either as victims or perpetrators.
The protocol will aim to:
- Ensure the delivery of a partnership response in safeguarding young people affected by gang activity whilst outlining the accountability of each agency involved.
- Identify young people at risk of involvement in anti-social behaviour, emergent criminality and gang activity and identify an appropriate response.
- Enable professionals to empower young people, individuals and families to make safe choices and improve the outcomes for all people identified at risk.
In 2013 the Sefton Safer Communities Partnership promoted the multi-agency approach required to tackle the issue of Serious and Organised Crime and Gangs in Sefton. The method was to identify, disrupt and focus upon high risk individuals involved in such criminality using the Police model of Prevent, Protect, Pursue and Prepare.
In doing so the Multi-Agency Response to Serious and Organised Crime (MARSOC), chaired by Merseyside Police was established to discuss individuals and their involvement within Serious and Organised Crime and Gangs. In addition Sefton has a ‘Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub’ (MASH) to ensure effective multi-agency safeguarding risk management, information sharing and intervention and a Multi-Agency Child Exploitation Panel (MACE).
Child Exploitation referrals should be made to the MASH using the Child Exploitation Referral Form (CE1). The MASH will identify the cases to be referred to Pre MACE, not just based on the level of criminality, but primarily based on the safeguarding concerns that a young person’s behaviour presents to him/herself, their family and the local community. Professionals from schools, health and our voluntary sector partners can also approach the partnership for prevention work via the referral process. Once identified cases will go to Pre MACE for risk assessment. If the case is deemed as High Risk a strategy meeting will be called for the referrer and the core group to discuss options for the child and a plan to be developed. Lower risk cases will be invited to the monthly MACE for discussion and the development of a MACE plan.
Early Intervention and Prevention is a crucial element to this approach. To successfully challenge the future of organised crime groups and reduce the exploitation of children and young people in Sefton we need to skill up and support parents to identify concerns with their children and enable them to appropriately challenge the behaviour within the home environment. Where it is identified that parents are not discharging their responsibilities this needs to be addressed by the appropriate Child Protection Process.
This protocol has been drawn up on the basis of law and guidance that seeks to protect children. It is not a substitute for professional legal advice. This is not an exhaustive list but includes:
- The Children Act 1989
- United Convention of the Rights of the Child 1991
- Data Protection Act 1998
- Human Rights Act 1998
- Sexual Offences Act 2003
- Children Act 2004
- Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
- Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
- Children and Families Act 2014
- Special educational needs and disability (SEND) code of practice: 0-25 years – Statutory guidance for organisations which work with and support children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities; HM Government 2014
- Information sharing: Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers; HM Government 2015
- Working Together to Safeguard Children; a guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children; HM Government 2018
- Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018