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Prevention Programme Evaluation

Evaluation of our Prevention Programme, tackling child sexual abuse, criminal exploitation, modern day slavery and human trafficking.

Number of pages:

26 pages

Date published:

About the Prevention Programme

Our national Prevention Programme is funded by the Home Office. The Programme works nationally to tackle and prevent Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) and Exploitation (CSE), Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE), Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking on a regional and national basis across England and Wales. 

There are ten regional Prevention Officers (POs) covering England and Wales and a national management team of three. An additional two POs are seconded to British Transport Police. 

Year 3 priorities

  1. Everyone’s responsibility - supporting businesses and general public to understand that preventing exploitation and abuse is everyone’s responsibility 
  2. Reframing narratives - challenging assumptions and bias to improve the response to victims and better safeguard exploited children 
  3. Increasing collaboration - building strong relationships across different sectors and geographies to come together and tackle child exploitation 

Prevention Programme impact

Here's a look how we performed in year three.

Prevention year 3 facts


people were reached through workshops, training and engagement activity in the first three quarters of the year


were police or statutory service providers


Practitioner talks to girl

Empowering people to respond to exploitation

We work with stakeholders including businesses who may encounter children and young people at risk of exploitation. Stakeholders have improved their confidence to act in cases where they were previously unsure what to do or where their instinct told them something was not right with a child. 

The #LookCloser campaign has contributed to their sense of confidence to respond supportively to children and young people. 

Look Closer statistics


of people who did #LookCloser training said their learning will impact their practice


said the training improved their knowledge and understanding

look closer impact

People who have participated in the Prevention Programme (either through #LookCloser or training) are likely to be more aware of the signs of exploitation. There are examples of retail and transport staff responding to possible exploitation as a result of the Programme. 

Case of shop staff responding to a child at risk:

‘Around September last year, one of our retailers called up and just said, look, there’s a young man in here with two young girls, we just don’t feel right about it. So, our staff just went downstairs and one of the young women just would not look anybody in the face, looking at her feet.

The Children's Society were able to give us these little trigger points, these little skills that we should be looking out for. And so, they called the police. And these were two missing people from up north, and the man got arrested for child abduction. We won an award for this with the shopping centre and the business...that’s two women’s lives who potentially we’ve changed.’

raising the profile of issues that affect children

Raising the profile of issues that affect young people 

We raise important issues around the evolving nature of exploitation, ensuring they are ‘on the agenda’ of both frontline professionals (such as police, nurses and social workers) and strategic decision makers (such as members of the Programme Reference group and the Home Office).  

We challenge the use of language and associated narratives to describe children and young people. This influences practice, making it more likely that children and young people who are victims (or potential victims) of exploitation and abuse will be safeguarded.  

Statistic 2


said the programme had increased awareness of language used around child exploitation and abuse


said the programme improved understanding of complexities of young people’s experiences

catalyst for change

Catalyst for change

Prevention Officers have been successful in building strong foundations for partnership working. In some cases, agencies within a locality or sub-region have strong working relationships and the Prevention Programme has been able to support structural changes. 

Identified sooner

Systems change 

Great strides have been made towards incremental systems change - impact on people’s knowledge and attitudes around exploitation. There are some examples of structural systems change, (i.e. changes in practice and process).

Some of these structural changes come about as a direct result of shifts in knowledge and attitudes. And some of these structural changes come about due to direct intervention by the Prevention Programme to improve processes. 

Learning and recommendations

Download the full report for full list of learnings and recommendations.