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Specific Safeguarding to look out for

The statutory guidance in Annex B of Keeping Children Safe in Education KCSIE 2021 contains important additional information about specific forms of abuse and safeguarding issues; this document has been shared with all staff at Harris Academy Morden who have confirmed that they have read it.

Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) and Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

KCSIE 2021 states: We know that different forms of harm often overlap, and that perpetrators may subject children and young people to multiple forms of abuse, such as criminal exploitation (including county lines) and sexual exploitation.

In some cases the exploitation or abuse will be in exchange for something the victim needs or wants (for example, money, gifts or affection), and/or will be to the financial benefit or other advantage, such as increased status, of the perpetrator or facilitator.

Children can be exploited by adult males or females, as individuals or in groups. They may also be exploited by other children, who themselves may be experiencing exploitation – where this is the case, it is important that the child perpetrator is also recognised as a victim.

Whilst the age of the child may be a contributing factor for an imbalance of power, there are a range of other factors that could make a child more vulnerable to exploitation, including, sexual identity, cognitive ability, learning difficulties, communication ability, physical strength, status, and access to economic or other resources.

Some of the following can be indicators of both child criminal and sexual exploitation where children:

  •  appear with unexplained gifts, money or new possessions;
  • associate with other children involved in exploitation;
  • suffer from changes in emotional well-being;
  • misuse drugs and alcohol;
  • go missing for periods of time or regularly come home late; and
  • regularly miss school or education or do not take part in education.

Children who have been exploited will need additional support to help maintain them in education.

CSE can be a one-off occurrence or a series of incidents over time and range from opportunistic to complex organised abuse. It can involve force and/or enticement-based methods of compliance and may, or may not, be accompanied by violence or threats of violence.

Some additional specific indicators that may be present in CSE are children who:

  • have older boyfriends or girlfriends; and
  • suffer from sexually transmitted infections, display sexual behaviours beyond expected sexual development or become pregnant.

County Lines:

KCSiE 2021: states: County lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of “deal line”. This activity can happen locally as well as across the UK - no specified distance of travel is required. Children and vulnerable adults are exploited to move, store and sell drugs and money. Offenders will often use coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons to ensure compliance of victims.

Children can be targeted and recruited into county lines in a number of locations including schools (mainstream and special), further and higher educational institutions, pupil referral units, children’s homes and care homes.

Children are also increasingly being targeted and recruited online using social media. Children can easily become trapped by this type of exploitation as county lines gangs can manufacture drug debts which need to be worked off or threaten serious violence and kidnap towards victims (and their families) if they attempt to leave the county lines network.

A number of the indicators for CSE and CCE as detailed above may be applicable to where children are involved in county lines. Some additional specific indicators that may be present where a child is criminally exploited through involvement in county lines are children who:

  • go missing and are subsequently found in areas away from their home;
  • have been the victim or perpetrator of serious violence (e.g. knife crime);
  • are involved in receiving requests for drugs via a phone line, moving drugs, handing over and collecting money for drugs;
  • are exposed to techniques such as ‘plugging’, where drugs are concealed internally to avoid detection;
  • are found in accommodation that they have no connection with, often called a ‘trap house or cuckooing’ or hotel room where there is drug activity;
  • owe a ‘debt bond’ to their exploiters; have their bank accounts used to facilitate drug dealing.

Further information on the signs of a child’s involvement in county lines is available in guidance published by the Home Office: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/863323/HOCountyLinesGuidance_-_Sept2018.pdf

Domestic Abuse:

KCSiE states: The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 received Royal Assent on 29 April 2021. The Act introduces the first ever statutory definition of domestic abuse and recognises the impact of domestic abuse on children, as victims in their own right, if they see, hear or experience the effects of abuse. The statutory definition of domestic abuse, based on the previous cross-government definition, ensures that different types of relationships are captured, including ex-partners and family members. The definition captures a range of different abusive behaviours, including physical, emotional and economic abuse and coercive and controlling behaviour. Both the person who is carrying out the behaviour and the person to whom the behaviour is directed towards must be aged 16 or over and they must be “personally connected” (as defined in section 2 of the 2021 Act).

Types of domestic abuse include intimate partner violence, abuse by family members, teenage relationship abuse and child/adolescent to parent violence and abuse. Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of sexual identity, age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexuality or background and domestic abuse can take place inside or outside of the home. The government will issue statutory guidance to provide further information for those working with domestic abuse victims and perpetrators, including the impact on children.

All children can witness and be adversely affected by domestic abuse in the context of their home life where domestic abuse occurs between family members. Experiencing domestic abuse and/or violence can have a serious, long lasting emotional and psychological impact on children. In some cases, a child may blame themselves for the abuse or may have had to leave the family home as a result.

Young people can also experience domestic abuse within their own intimate relationships. This form of peer on peer abuse is sometimes referred to as ‘teenage relationship abuse’. Depending on the age of the young people, this may not be recognised in law under the statutory definition of ‘domestic abuse’ (if one or both parties are under 16). However, as with any child under 18, where there are concerns about safety or welfare, child safeguarding procedures should be followed and both young victims and young perpetrators should be offered support. The Act’s provisions, including the new definition, will be commenced over the coming months.

Harris Academy Morden are part of the Merton Operation Encompass scheme working in partnership with the Police to offer emotional and practical help to children. The system ensures that when police are called to an incident of domestic abuse, where there are children in the household who have experienced the domestic incident, the police will inform Mrs Edwards Designated Safeguarding Lead to enable immediate support to be put in place for the child.

Peer on Peer Abuse: Safeguarding issues can manifest themselves via Peer on Peer abuse, which can take many forms, such as: (but is not limited to): abuse within intimate partner relationships; bullying (including cyberbullying); sexual violence and sexual harassment; physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm; sexting and initiation/hazing type violence and rituals.

Sexual Violence and Harassment:

The NSPCC have launched a dedicated helpline for children and young people who've experienced abuse at school, and for worried adults and professionals who need support and guidance. The helpline is to provide appropriate support and advice to victims of abuse, and concerned adults, including onward action such as contacting the police if they wish to. 

This dedicated helpline will offer support to:

  • all children and young people making current and non-recent disclosures of abuse
  • any children or young people who want to talk about being involved or witnessing any incidents
  • any adults who have experienced non-recent abuse
  • parents and carers who have any concerns about their own or other children
  • professionals who work in schools and need support in this or related issues.

​Anyone who gets in touch through this dedicated helpline will also be signposted to other relevant support services available, including Childline - which provides ongoing support and counselling to children and young people. 

The Report Abuse in Education helpline comes after a high number of anonymous testimonials were submitted to the Everyone’s Invited website, documenting abuse in all types of schools, colleges, and universities. 

Young people and adults can contact the NSPCC helpline, Report Abuse in Education on 0800 136 663 or email help@nspcc.org.uk

 Radicalisation and Extremism: Harris Academy Morden actively supports the view that all students should be protected from radicalisation and extremism. The Academy’s Prevent Duty Lead is Mrs Edwards, the Designated Safeguarding Lead.

Signposting:

Annex-B-KCSiE-2021-1.pdf