Tackling Child Exploitation
The multi-agency Practice Principles for responding to child exploitation and extra-familial harm are designed to support effective partnership working across different local contexts; providing a common language and framework to better respond to child exploitation and extra-familial harm.
The Tackling Child Exploitation (TCE) Support Programme was commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) to develop a set of Practice Principles to inform local and national responses to child exploitation and extra-familial harm. The above animation provides an overview of the Practice Principles.
The eight Practice Principles are evidence-informed, which means they draw on the expertise of children, young people, parents, carers and professionals and on what we know from research. Taken together, they promote a holistic response to child exploitation and extra-familial harm that recognises the potential presence of different and multiple forms of harm in children and young people’s lives.
Those affected by child exploitation and / or extra-familial harm are due the same rights and protections as other children and young people, so the Principles will be relevant to work with all children and young people. We know, however, that for children and young people experiencing these forms of harm, the complexities and presentation of child exploitation and / or extra-familial harm can mean that responses sometimes undermine the realisation of these rights.
To support partnerships, agencies and professionals to shape how they respond to this context, the Practice Principles:
The eight Practice Principles below are interrelated and interdependent. Taken together, they can guide useful partnership behaviours to help support a coherent, collaborative and creative local response to child exploitation and extra-familial harm.
 For further information on definitions, see Brodie (2021) Child exploitation. Definitions and language.
 For further information on the inter-connected conditions of abuse, see Beckett et al. (2017) Child Sexual Exploitation Definition and Guide for Professionals. Extended Text.
Each Principle speaks to what it means for those engaged in direct work, operational managers who support this work, and those in strategic leadership and partnership roles. Although written for a multi-agency audience, some of the terminology will likely feel more familiar to some agencies than others. Where more specialist terms or approaches are noted, they are highlighted and explained in the glossary at the end of the document.
“I feel understood, believed and treated like a human being. I feel my worker is interested in me and on my side. I know they don’t judge or blame me.”
“I am seen, respected and accepted for who I am, professionals can relate to me, and they challenge any discrimination I face.”
“I feel heard, acknowledged, and validated because my views and opinions are sought and included. This matters to me and makes me want to talk to them.”
“I have someone to go to who genuinely cares about me and my future. They do things to actually help me. I feel safe with them and can trust them.”
“People understand how I have been affected by what has happened to me and they show that in the way they help me. I feel like I matter.”
“I feel properly seen, because the people who are there to help me put in the effort to understand me and my life. They are knowledgeable, and are always learning about how to help me feel safer.”
“I am included in decisions about involving my parents and carers. Supporting my parents and / or carers to understand what has happened to me can help improve family relationships and the support I receive.”
“In my community, I have opportunities to do activities and make new friends. The spaces and places where I spend my time feel safe, and give me a sense of belonging.”
Four common themes are noted across the eight Practice Principles. To explain what these terms mean, within the context of the Practice Principles, a brief description is offered:
Do you have insights into a wicked issue in responding to child exploitation? Or a view on the challenges and barriers the Practice Principles need to address? We would love to hear from you!
Please use this open response feedback form to share your perspective. TCE will consider these responses alongside our more structured consultation methods, such as our events and surveys.
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