Doncaster speaks out against county lines for International Women’s Day

This International Women’s Day residents across Doncaster are being educated on the tell-tale signs of county lines amongst young females as part of a multi-agency service that works to reduce child exploitation.

Tuesday, 8th March 2022, 4:06 pm

Doncaster Children’s Services Trust CSE advocates were joined by colleagues from Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS (RDaSH) to raise awareness in Doncaster town centre to members of the public so they can play a part in helping reduce the number of vulnerable children who fall victim to the recruitment tactics of country lines gangs every day.

Residents will be able to find the representatives at the EPIC Hub within the Frenchgate Centre and will be asked to make a personal pledge to report any signs of grooming by anonymously texting 116 000.

County lines for young females can be detrimental, as dealers are increasingly targeting young and vulnerable females as they are believed to be less suspicious to Police. Young females are exploited into becoming drug ‘runners’ or move large sums of cash to and from rural areas back to cities.

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Carmel and Jayne at the Frenchgate

County line gangs often exploit the nativity of youth by lead young females into think they are acting out of love which often results in young females being subjected to horrific acts of sexual violence once recruited.

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During this day, the multi-agency team hope the reach members of the community who are professionals, parents’ and young people to help share how spot the signs of CSE from their own personal point of view.

As a community we can help by spotting the tell-tale signs which indicate a child is being exploited, these are:

· An increase in visitors and cars to a house or flat

· New faces appearing at the house or flat

· New and regularly changing residents

· Change in resident’s mood and/or demeanour

· Substance misuse and/or drug paraphernalia

· Changes in the way young people you might know dress

· Unexplained, sometimes unaffordable new things

· Residents or young people you know going missing, maybe for long periods of time

· Young people seen in different cars/taxis driven by unknown adults

· Young people seeming unfamiliar with your community or where they are

· Truancy, exclusion, disengagement from school

· An increase in anti-social behaviour in the community

· Unexplained injuries

Jane Pezzulo, Specialist Nurse Child Exploitation Team at RDaSH said: “Raising awareness of this abhorrent crime in our town centre is essential to help us as a community stand up and say no to child exploitation.”

Carmel Bartlett, Senior Education Welfare Officer in the Child Exploitation Team at Doncaster Children’s Services said: “Children and young people often may find it difficult to recognise that they are being exploited but there are a number of practical steps we can take to protect children the first is to report it. Our service is open 24/7 and are here to support anyone who may be affected by this crime.”

If you have any concerns, please contact Doncaster Children’s Services Trust CSE advocates by calling 01302 737777. For weekends and out of hours please call the team on 01302 796000. Always call 999 in an emergency.

To find out more about the work the team does, visit: www.doncasterchildrenstrust.co.uk/how-we-can-help-you/child-exploitation

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.