Back in November, the APPG for Knife Crime and Violence Reduction held its first meeting with our new co-chairs Florence Eshalomi MP (Lab, Vauxhall) and Taiwo Owatemi MP (Lab, Coventry North). The session focused on child criminal exploitation, hearing from the Minister for Safeguarding, Victoria Atkins MP, young people and from a range of experts across the sector including: Crest Advisory, Southend Borough Council and Barnardo’s.
We discussed what child criminal exploitation (CCE) is, how COVID-19 has impacted patterns of exploitation and explored what opportunity the upcoming Serious Violence Bill holds to formalise protection for those at risk.
You can watch highlights from the session here:
Key points raised were:
· 1:00- Minister for Safeguarding Victoria Atkins MP gave an update on the work the Government has been doing around this issue- highlighting cross department working and preparations for the Serious Violence Bill (and speculated as to whether this will be its name).
· 1.56- Barnardo’s shared valuable [MOU1] voice clips from young people they support who have been criminal exploited or are at risk and CEO Javed Khan highlighted (4.08) their concern for ‘hidden’ children of the pandemic who as a result of COVID-19 may be more vulnerable to exploitation, using insights from their new ‘See, Hear, Respond’ programme which has supported over 40,000 children in 7 months in partnership with 80+ organisations.
· 2.20- Evidence from Crest illuminated how vulnerabilities and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can feed into exploitation, as well as examining how inconsistent local definitions of CCE can lead to a patchwork of support provision and differing policing responses.
· 5.18 Southend Borough Council raised the important need to shift towards a contextual safeguarding approach, as well as the emerging problem of ‘blurred lines’ exploitation in non-metropolitan areas.
The Q&A section shone a light on the frontline experiences of Redthread Youth Workers, who highlighted that county lines is not the only means of criminal exploitation happening to young people- we also heard valuable contributions from voices across the charity sector and the political spectrum.
2021 looks set to be a busy year for the APPG on Knife Crime and Violence Reduction. We will be:
- Publishing a briefing on Child Criminal Exploitation
- Organise several meetings across the year, including our next session looking at Violence Reduction Units.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!