Posted: 22 February 2016

Chloe’s story: A journey of vulnerability

Right now, as part of our Seriously Awkward campaign, we are calling on the government to use the new Policing and Crime Bill to change the law. We want Child Abduction Warning Notices (CAWNs), the tool that could’ve helped protect Chloe from further exploitation, to be extended to particularly vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds like Chloe. Chloe’s story is one of a girl who we helped through our frontline services.

Ask your MP to help us change the law and protect children like Chloe. 

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Help us protect the most vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds

 

Chloe’s Story

For Chloe, life was never easy. Having been put in the custody of her gran at four years old, after her mum and dad’s alcoholism got so bad that she couldn’t live with them – her life was already off to a difficult start.

When Chloe turned 13, some of these early struggles started to take form as rebellion against her gran’s rules. By 14, the relationship has reached breaking point and they part ways. Chloe is back living with her dad, still struggling with alcohol abuse but managing to keep a job. Mum is in prison. 

Her dad’s alcoholism means Chloe isn’t getting the emotional support or boundaries that she needs to grow and keep herself safe. She’s started going missing, but without parents around to notice it’s not being reported so she can’t get the help she needs.

 At 14, Chloe was staying out overnight at least twice a week.

Before long, Chloe’s school have noticed that she’s not been turning up. She’s been referred to a college placement, but her attendance is still poor. Social services have given Chloe ‘child in need’ status, but their involvement still remains patchy. By 16, Chloe has ended up in with a risky group of kids – they’re often getting into trouble with the police and other authorities because they smoke cannabis and drink alcohol.

On top of all of this, her missing episodes are getting worse – she’s now staying over at known risky adults' houses rather than go home to her dad. There are now widespread concerns about Chloe’s welfare among professionals as she is spending a lot of time with a woman in her 20s. The police have now identified her as at risk of child sexual exploitation (CSE).

The police have attempted to apply a harbouring notice (now called a Child Abduction Warning Notice) to Chloe, which would prevent the woman from seeing Chloe and make it easier to prosecute her if she continues exploiting Chloe. Regretfully, the attempt to apply the order was unsuccessful as currently the police only have powers to apply them to protect children under the age of 16.

Chloe’s relationship with her gran is now non-existent, her dad won’t have her back in the house and her mum is still in prison. Without proper protection and support Chloe’s situation will only get worse, leading to further exploitation and abuse.

Take Action

The Policing and Crime Bill is currently making its way through the House of Commons. We’re asking MPs to extend CAWNs to protect vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds like Chloe.

Ask your MP to help us change the law and protect children from CSE, regardless of age.

Take Action

 

 
By Jake Mcleod - Policy team
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Help us protect the most vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds

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Seriously Awkward: Protect older teenagers

Posted: 23 June 2015

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Firebird at Trafalgar Studios

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