NYSCP Child Criminal Exploitation - North Yorkshire

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Child Criminal Exploitation

Child Criminal Exploitation

What is Child Criminal Exploitation?

Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) is a type of child abuse where children are manipulated and coerced into committing crimes.

Criminal exploitation takes many forms, the most commonly known relating to the supply and movement of drugs, often referred to as County Lines, offences in relation to guns and other weapons, money laundering, violent offences and in some cases Cuckooing where criminals forcibly take over control of a person’s home.

County lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs into one or more importing areas in the UK, using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of ‘deal line’.

They are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults to move and store the drugs and money and they will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons.

Harrogate Safer Communities, alongside NYCC Ripon & Rural Prevention Service (now the Early Help Service) produced the below video to show how criminal exploitation can happen in North Yorkshire:


What does Cuckooing and being in a gang mean?

NYSCP have produced two short animated videos to explain what Cuckooing is and the different types of gangs young people may be involved in:

The Children’s Society have produced a Slang Dictionary to support professionals, parents and carers to better understand the language young people may be using in association with criminal exploitation, particularly County Lines.

Click below to download a copy of the dictionary:

The Slang Dictionary


Dangers of Criminal Exploitation

It’s important to be aware of the risks of criminal exploitation or being involved in a criminal gang. Criminal gangs will use different tactics to recruit and exploit children including bribing, befriending, threatening or coercion. Dangers of criminal exploitation include:

  • subjected to threats, blackmail and violence
  • being arrested
  • theirs, family and friends safety threatened
  • risk of emotional abuse
  • substance and alcohol misuse
  • forced to commit crimes
  • not being able to leave or cut off ties with the gang
  • risk of physical harm, rape and sexual abuse
  • risk of being killed or severely injured
  • significant negative impact on education and future employment

– Regularly absent (often unexplained) from and struggling at school
– Going missing from home, staying out late and travelling for unexplained reasons
– In a relationship or hanging out with someone older than them
– Being isolated or withdrawn
– Having unexplained amounts of money and buying new things
– Wearing clothes or accessories in gang colours or getting tattoos
– Using new slang words
– Being angry, aggressive or violent
– Spending more time on social media and being secretive about time online
– Increase number of calls or sending more texts, possibly on a new phone or phones
– Self-harming and feeling emotionally unwell
– Substance misuse and drinking alcohol
– Committing low level crimes like shop lifting or vandalism
– Unexplained injuries and refusing to seek medical help
– Carrying weapons or having a dangerous breed of dog


Where to go for further information and support?

There are a range of local and national support services who can provide further information and support, some are listed below.

However, should you have an immediate safeguarding concern about a child in North Yorkshire go to the NYSCP Worried About a Child page for advice on the steps you need to take.

Toolkits to support practice

The Home Office have produced a toolkit to support frontline staff working to safeguard children and young people under the age of 18 from sexual and criminal exploitation. This includes, but is not exclusive to law enforcement, social care, housing education, the voluntary sector and related partner organisations. To download a copy of the toolkit click below.

Home Office Child Exploitation Disruption Toolkit:

Local Support Services



The Children’s Society Hand in Hand Project is running in North Yorkshire for young people who are experiencing or are at risk of sexual and/or criminal exploitation.

Dedicated specialist workers provide direct support to enable young people to recognise themselves as victims, increase resilience and make informed choices to lower the risk and/or stop the risk of exploitation increasing.

For more information about the Hand in Hand Project click onto their website here.



Parents Against Child Exploitation (PACE) helps parents and carers across the UK, including in North Yorkshire, understand what is happening to their child and how parents are the people who are best to help their child exit exploitative relationships. PACE do this by offering:

– One-to-one telephone advice and support to parents
– Facilitating meetings with similarly-affected parents for peer support
– Advising how to establish rights as parents and work in partnership with statutory service such as police and social workers
– Advice and support when pursuing disruption and prosecution of the perpetrators of child exploitation
– Befriending scheme

To download a PACE referral form, please see the link at the bottom of this page.

For more information on PACE visit their website here.

National Support Services


NSPCC provides support nationally on the prevention of child abuse, including a wide range of resources on CCE. Visit the NSPCC website here to view the work they are carrying out on CCE.



Think U Know from CEOP, supports professional to deliver education and raise awareness of online child abuse and exploitation. To view the Think U Know Resource Library click here.



The NWG, is an exploitation response charitable unit who disseminate information to services working on the issue of child exploitation and trafficking within the UK. They offer support and advice, provide updates, training and share national developments.

Visit the NWG’s website here.


NYSCP Podcasts

NYSCP has produced a podcast series on Engaging with Children and Families affected by Child Exploitation.

Each episode we sit down with a frontline professional in North Yorkshire to discuss the challenges and approaches they use to support children and families affected by child exploitation.


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