Exploitation is to treat someone unfairly or use a situation to gain an unfair advantage over someone else. It can also be to benefit from their work or activity.
Exploitation of children can take many forms, for example, using a child to get money for someone else, or using a child to distribute drugs to other people. It can mean getting a child to do something sexual, even when they may feel that they are willingly taking part. Exploitation is a form of abuse. Abuse can be emotional, sexual, financial and physical.
Finding out that your child is being, has been or is vulnerable to exploitation is extremely upsetting. You might find yourself in shock or in denial. You may have feelings of anger, guilt, upset, confusion, fear, embarrassment, helplessness and depression. You may blame yourself as a parent or carer and feel you didn’t do enough to protect them. These feelings and reactions are normal and understandable.
Child exploitation can happen to any child. The pack (below) is designed to help parents and carers to reduce the risk of exploitation from happening to their child and help understand what is happening if it does. The support pack considers when a child may be at risk of or experiencing exploitation or abusive relationships with peers or older adults. It provides tips and helpful information and guidance for parents and carers to prevent exploitation from happening and protect your child if it does.Child Exploitation - Parents and Carers Support Pack
Merton Multi Agency Child Exploitation Panels (MACE) Terms of Reference and Procedure
Exploitation / Serious Youth Violence / Harmful Sexual BehaviourMerton Multi Agency Child Exploitation Panels (MACE) - Terms of Reference
Harmful Sexual Behaviour Protocol
Merton also have a protocol about supporting young people and their families when relationships and sexual behaviour has become problematic and harmful.