Sexual exploitation

Follow this procedure when working with children and young people at risk of or subject to sexual exploitation.

Document ID number 1604, version 3, 16 March 2017

Introduction

Child protection clients, particularly those in out-of-home care, are at risk of being sexually exploited. Children living with their families are also increasingly identified as being at risk of experiencing sexual exploitation.

For additional information see Sexual exploitation - advice.

Procedure

Case practitioner tasks

Identification of sexual exploitation

  • Complete, or ensure the appropriate agency completes, an incident report when information is received that a child is believed to be at risk of or has been sexually exploited – Refer to Critical Incident Guidelines.
  • Immediately inform the local Victoria Police SOCIT the child is believed to be at risk of  or has been sexually exploited.
  • Conduct a thorough review of the file to assess historical trauma and the impact it may be having upon the child’s current presentation.
  • Consult with the team manager and sexual exploitation practice leader.
  • If the child is in out-of-home care, convene a care team or for a child still in parental care, hold a professionals case conference  meeting to gather information about the exploitation and to formulate appropriate risk management and safety strategies.
  • Complete, or ensure the appropriate case management agency completes, a CRIS generated sexual exploitation template within two business - further outlined in Sexual exploitation template process map.
  • Submit a new or updated CRIS generated template to the sexual exploitation practice leader within two business days – further outlined in Sexual exploitation template process map.
  • Record decisions, actions and rationales on CRIS.

Responding to sexual exploitation:

  • Regularly convene care team or professionals case conference meetings to ensure purposeful, structured and documented information gathering systems are in place.
  • Ensure interaction with Victoria Police is regular, and information is actively collated to identify specifics of the exploitation – including the name and address of the person(s) of interest.
  • Consider enhanced actions to obtain details of the sexual exploitation, including:
    • removing the child’s mobile phone subject to practice guidance
    • viewing and documenting the child’s on-line social media activity.
  • Document information about the child’s experience in a new or updated sexual exploitation information template.
  • Place all children with a Tier 1 or 2 sexual exploitation evidence rating on the divisional high-risk schedule.

Sexual exploitation evidence rating

Tier 1 There is confirmed knowledge of exploitative activity, including dates, times and locations. For example, the identity of Person of Interest is known or currently being established, or the child discloses sex acts with an adult (sexual exploitation) or a critical incident of sexual assault (such as rape). In this example the identity of the offender is not required.

Tier 2 The child’s behaviour or actions strongly suggest they are being sexually exploited, but active child protection engagement is required to verify exploitative activity and/or identify the person of interest with assistance of Victoria Police where required.

  • Actively monitor children at risk of sexually exploitation through the divisional high-risk schedule and panel.
  • During the child’s care team or professionals meeting, develop and regularly review a risk and response plan, case plan and actions table. For information on the additional considerations required in the development and review of plans and the actions table, see Sexual exploitation - advice.
  • For all children subject to a Tier 1 sexual exploitation evidence rating, ensure regular meetings are occurring with Victoria Police SOCITs and a risk and response plan is developed to cease or disrupt the exploitation and includes immediate legal responses such as:
    • serving the perpetrator or person of interest with a s. 495 or 497 CYFA 2005 harbouring or loitering notice
    • applying for a family violence or personal safety intervention order on behalf of the child or young person
    • implementation of other identified legal measures.

Legal requirements

  • The service of a harbouring letter or a loitering letter must be recorded in CRIS and a statutory declaration of service completed and attached to the client file. Case notes should include a summary of contact with the person of interest, including dates and times of service.
  • A CRIS documented consultation with Victoria Police SOCIT and the Child Protection Litigation Office (CPLO), or divisional legal officer, must occur before applications for intervention orders can proceed.

Team manager, practice leader and area manager tasks

  • As a supervisor, ensure that all required tasks and actions are completed by the responsible case manager and documented on CRIS.
  • Review and endorse the child’s case plan, being mindful of specific requirements for children who have been or are at risk of sexual exploitation, including consistency with the risk and response plan.

Sexual exploitation practice leader

  • Undertake consultations with case managers to determine a child’s individual risk and what actions are required to mitigate that risk.
  • Assist case managers to complete link charts and other measures to ensure networks of believed or confirmed sexual exploitation cases are appropriately documented and responded to.
  • Liaise with other sexual exploitation practice leaders to ensure state-wide oversight of sexual exploitation networks.  
  • Facilitate individual and divisional correspondence with Victoria Police and other key service providers to ensure appropriate measures are in place to  address child sexual exploitation.
  • In collaboration with child protection operations managers, ensure divisional workplan objectives are updated and finalised.
  • Maintain the statewide register of children at risk of sexual exploitation.
  • Review all sexual exploitation information templates prior to their submission to the child protection operations manager, or their delegate.
  • Ensure all divisionally endorsed templates are attached to the child’s CRIS file and are sent to Victoria Police SOCITs.

Child protection operations manager tasks

  • Provide sub-divisional oversight of children who are believed or confirmed to be sexually exploited.
  • In collaboration with the team manager, sexual exploitation practice leader and area manager, regularly review divisional children on the statewide sexual exploitation register.
  • Review and endorse the sexual exploitation template.
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