Criminal Exploitation occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive a child, young person, or adult (including those with care and support needs) into any criminal activity:
- in exchange for something the victim needs or wants,
- for the financial or other advantage of the perpetrator or facilitator (such as to support serious crime and/or terrorism),
- through violence or the threat of violence to ensure compliance.
The victim may have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears consensual.
Criminal Exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur using technology and/or social media.
There is a multi-agency approach, called ‘Channel’, which looks at referrals of people at risk of being drawn into terrorism and decides whether, or not, action needs to be taken. This approach works alongside the safeguarding partnerships to protect people at risk from radicalisation.
Where people holding extremist views appear to be moving towards terrorism, they clearly become relevant to Channel multiagency boards. They are likely to have been identified as holding extreme yet legitimate ideas, but have been assessed as being at risk of moving from that position into one of criminality. It should be stressed that, at this stage, the person has not committed any offense.
Channel programmes are prioritised around areas and places of higher risk, defined as those where terrorist groups and their sympathisers have been most active. However, Channel interventions can take place anywhere, regardless of whether that place has been designated as a priority area. Channel is completely confidential and open. The person at risk can decline to take part in any intervention.