The Safer Devon Partnership has developed an online toolkit to tackle the threat of exploitation. This toolkit will help frontline workers learn about, identify and report exploitation happening in Devon and the surrounding area.
The toolkit can be accessed at preventingexploitationtoolkit.org.uk. The toolkit is designed for anyone who, through their paid or voluntary work, may encounter people who are vulnerable to exploitation.
The toolkit will help people to:
- gain an understanding of exploitation happening in their local area
- gain an understanding of the factors that can make people vulnerable to exploitation
- identify signs of exploitation
- report concerns that someone is being exploited
- receive guidance and support about working with people who are vulnerable to exploitation
- advance their personal development through gaining a greater understanding of exploitation.
Why is exploitation a priority for the Safer Devon Partnership?
Exploitation involves being coerced into doing something that you don’t want to do for someone else’s gain. It is a hidden crime which often happens out of sight, leaving victims at serious risk of harm. Exploitation is a major local and national issue, and within Devon there are increasing numbers of vulnerable children and adults being identified as victims of exploitation.
- the number of suspected modern slavery victims identified in the South West tripled from 60 in 2015 to 190 in 2017 (HM Government, 2018)
- a growing number of ‘county lines’ drug gangs are operating in Devon and Cornwall, transporting drugs from major cities to local urban and rural areas (Devon and Cornwall Police, 2018) – these county lines gangs are exploiting vulnerable young people and adults, forcing them to traffic drugs and using their houses as a base for their activities
- from April 2017 to March 2018 over 400 people in the South West were referred into the government’s counter-terrorism programme due to concerns that they were being radicalised (Home Office, 2018)
- 3,000 fraud-related crimes were reported by individuals in Devon and Cornwall from October 2017 to 2018 – 20% of these people were identified as vulnerable (Action Fraud, 2018).
What do our Partners say about this resource?
The Preventing Exploitation Toolkit is a great development to help tackle the exploitation of vulnerable people in our communities. The aim is to improve the understanding of issues and increase reporting, enabling agencies to safeguard those who are at risk. It will assist professional and volunteer organisations by providing simple guidance and information to assist in identifying individuals subject to exploitation, and in reporting concerns.”
Chief Superintendent Sam de Reya – Chair of the Safer Devon Partnership
“Exploitation presents a significant threat to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in our local communities, making the identification and reporting of concerns all the more important. Our children’s services colleagues and partners play a vital role in tackling the exploitation of children and young people, and I would encourage them to do all they can to further increase their knowledge and understanding of this issue.”
Jo Olsson – Chief Officer for Children’s Services (Devon County Council)
“Exploitation such as county lines and modern slavery is happening in Devon. They are hidden crimes which can go unnoticed and place people at significant risk of harm. This toolkit will give all health and social care staff the knowledge and skills to identify exploitation and give support to those they are concerned about. I would encourage all staff to make use of this toolkit to help them support and protect those who are vulnerable in our local communities.”
Geraldine Benson – Principal Social Worker – Commissioning, Adult Social Care (Devon County Council)
“This toolkit will provide frontline workers with greater awareness and knowledge of exploitation, enabling them to support those children, young people and adults in our community who are most at risk of exploitation.”
Dr Virginia Pearson – Chief Officer for Communities, Public Health, Environment and Prosperity (Devon County Council)