The latest news from the Violence and Vulnerability Unit
Could you Look Closer?
This week the VVU is supporting #LookCloser awareness week. #LookCloser is a partnership campaign between The Children’s Society, British Transport Police and the National County Lines Co-ordination Centre.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of child exploitation and abuse, with a particular focus on public spaces – spaces that young people frequent, and exploitation may be more visible.
#LookCloser wants to teach people about the signs of exploitation. If we learn how to spot the signs we can help keep young people safe.
#LookCloser also seeks to challenge stereotypes of victimhood, highlighting that child exploitation can happen anywhere, and any young person can be a victim. Find out more at The Children’s Society
Violence and vulnerability webinars
Southend, Essex and Thurrock Safeguarding Boards are pleased to offer practitioners the opportunity to attend free webinars in partnership with the Violence and Vulnerability Unit. The webinars are designed to support practice and develop skills.
Currently available to book are:
Looking at how perpetrators think, target and groom the victim and the importance of having an understanding of ex-offenders if your aim is to safeguard people from them.
Exploring victim-blaming language and terminology used around the exploitation of children, young people and young adults.
A summary of adolescent development, extra-familial harm and the limitations of child protection systems in responding to this type of harm.
More webinars are being arranged and will be shared as they become available to book.
Supporting parents with online safety knowledge
From the 17 to the 24 October, we are joining with the Essex Safeguarding Children Board (ESCB) and partners as they host a week of online activity raising awareness of online risk.
Topics covered during the week will include spotting the signs of abuse, discussing the importance of healthy relationships and open communication at home, and exploring methods to protect young people from abuse.
Traditional signs of exploitation include a young person having more money, being secretive, or getting taxis everywhere. New and emerging signs of exploitation stem from the online world, such as receiving online commodities – game currency and other gifts within games.
It is important to remember exploitation is never the child’s fault and they are never to blame. By creating a supportive environment, where online safety is discussed in the same way as road safety or stranger danger, children will feel more able to speak openly about concerns they may have and potentially avoid an online threat escalating.
As well as information available at www.escb.co.uk there are also two new online sessions running during the week which parents and carers can join.
@The2Johns are once again introducing the online safety week with a Facebook Live looking at recent trends they have encountered in their visits to schools. Join them Sunday 17 October at 6pm @The2johns on Facebook.
And join @EssexBrook on Thursday 21 October at 1.30pm as they run a Facebook Live session for parents and carers of children with special educational needs and disabilities talking specifically about healthy relationships. Find them on Facebook at @EssexBrook
County Lines arrests
Twenty people were arrested last week by Essex Police as part of a co-ordinated strike against drug supply across south Essex.
The warrants were executed by specialist officers from the Op Raptor South team, Essex Police Operational Support Group and the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit, with support from the National County Line Coordination Centre.
As a result of the operation, Police seized 25,000 wraps of what is believed to be crack cocaine and heroin, with a street value of £250,000, and £60,000 in cash.
The arrests last week were part of a wider and complex operation which has focused on the supply of drugs in south Essex over the last nine months.
As part of that operation, officers have seized:
- 1112g cocaine
- 320g crack cocaine
- 229g heroin
- 9255g cannabis
- 256 electrical devices
- Enforcement taken against 87 drug lines
- 11 drug dealing telephone telecommunication restriction orders issued
- £195,012.11 in cash
- 33 weapons, including knives, machetes, swords, imitation firearms and baseball bats
- More than £286,000 worth of drugs
Including last week’s strikes, Op Raptor South officers have also made a total of 136 arrests and secured 86 charges as part of the operation.
Op Raptor Teams are focused on those people who are considered to present the highest risk and harm to our communities – that means targeting the County Line holders, those who are running the Line. This includes those who are committing serious acts of violence, exploiting children and other vulnerable people – including those who are victim to cuckooing – and threatening and intimidating communities.
The work of the VVU then complements this enforcement activity by working with agencies across the partnership to deliver education, intervention, prevention and diversion work across greater Essex.