9 May 2019

The Children’s Society has been appointed to develop and deliver a new programme to tackle child exploitation as part of a consortium, led by Research in Practice, and also involving the University of Bedfordshire.

The Tackling Child Exploitation (TCE) Support Programme is a significant investment by the Department for Education and aims to support local areas to develop an effective response to child exploitation and threats from outside the family home, including child sexual exploitation and child criminal exploitation, including county lines drug trafficking.

The not-for-profit consortium will work with a number of skilled delivery partners, comprising local authorities, charities, academics and independent subject matter experts, to deliver support to local areas.

The TCE Support Programme will be evidence-informed, and developed with the sector, in order to reflect and build on the wealth of existing knowledge and activity in this field. The emphasis on harnessing and sharing sector expertise reflects the consortium’s commitment to building capacity and enabling sustainable change.

Over the next three years, every local authority area will be able to apply for ‘Bespoke Support’, and in addition a website will be developed providing open access learning materials. Bespoke Support projects will help local partners including social care, health, police and education, to understand the risks and harms facing children and young people outside the family home and develop a more effective response.

Key aims of the TCE Support Programme include: enabling local areas to access credible, sector-acknowledged expertise on child exploitation and risk outside the family home; helping to improve their capacity and capability to respond effectively, and to support the development of skilled, knowledgeable and confident professionals.

Dara Da Burca, Director of Children and Young People’s Services at The Children’s Society - which tackles child exploitation through its national Disrupting Exploitation programme, said: “Our frontline work means we have a real insight into many of the challenges professionals encounter in safeguarding children and young people vulnerable to exploitation in the face of a myriad of threats.

“We believe this programme can be truly transformative, empowering local partners to better understand these risks and helping them to develop effective responses – including by harnessing support from across the community from the likes of transport operators and hotel staff.

“By focusing both on preventing and responding to exploitation, we can together keep more vulnerable children safe, reducing the risk of them falling prey to predators and giving them a better chance of a brighter future.”

Media enquiries

For more information, please contact Senior Media Officer Rob Devey on 07814 525918 or rob.devey@childrenssociety.org.uk. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.

Notes to Editor

  • The Children’s Society is a national charity that works with the most vulnerable children and young people in Britain today. We listen. We support. We act. Because no child should feel alone.  The Children’s Society’s Disrupting Exploitation programme is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. More information is available here.
  • Research in Practice is a national charity that supports organisations and individuals to access, understand and apply evidence in their work with children, young people and families. Our work brings together academic research, practice expertise and the evidence of children and families' experiences engaging with services. We then apply this knowledge to a range of resources and learning opportunities to support professionals’ efforts to improve the lives of children and families.
  • The International Centre: Researching child sexual exploitation, violence and trafficking at the University of Bedfordshire is an applied research centre, with a commitment to working in partnership with others, including children and young people, to improve responses to abuse and exploitation. With over 20 research staff, the Centre has a wide programme of work, including Contextual Safeguarding and a strong participatory strand of work. The Centre was awarded The Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2013 for its pioneering research on child sexual exploitation.