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Preventing young people from becoming victims of child criminal exploitation (CCE)

Reviewing how we can effectively prevent young people from becoming victims of CCE and mitigate threat, risk and harm.

Key details

Lead institution
Principal researcher(s)
Claire McGuire
Police region
North West
Level of research
Project start date
Date due for completion

Research context


The main aim of the thesis is to conduct quantitative and qualitative research with a view to examining diversionary methods currently employed by law enforcement, statutory safeguarding providers and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). It will strive to establish which prevention activity is likely to be most successful in safeguarding young people through those most affected by CCE.


  1. To gain an understanding of CCE levels in North West England through quantitative data research.
  2. To assess and research the levels and types of CCE occurring specifically across Greater Manchester and explore who is at risk of becoming a victim and why.
  3. To explore the strategic and tactical response from law enforcement, safeguarding services and third sector NGOs.
  4. To examine how the different prevent interventions to address CCE are commissioned and delivered across Greater Manchester. This will also include an assessment on how successful the different interventions are, and whether they are having an impact on reducing exploitation and mitigating harm.
  5. To conduct research with individuals who have themselves been victims of CCE, develop concepts and determine what interventions could prove the most effective in addressing this and reducing risk in the future.
  6. To provide recommendations to law enforcement, safeguarding services and NGOs surrounding the design and delivery of diversionary programmes to achieve victim engagement, positive outcomes and value for money.

Research methodology

A mixed methods approach will be used, with a theoretical framework followed initially to shape the quantitative data gathering. This has been produced following an examination of the current literature. Security sensitive police and partner agency data around CCE and youth violence will be sought to assess the overall extent of CCE occurring in North West England.

Qualitative research will take the form of semi-structured interviews. These will be conducted with adults who have experienced CCE as a child. The rationale for conducting the interviews in this manner is to achieve as much information about the participants' experiences with both exploitation and any diversionary activities they may have attended. Open questions will provide an opportunity for the contributors to provide as much detail as they wish about the harm they endured and their opinions on how to best prevent future victims being targeted. The initial questions themselves will be derived from the literature review themes found and the aims of the research project.

Research participation

Participation will be requested through the researcher’s professional network such as NGOs and safeguarding colleagues. The interviews will be conducted with those who have lived experience of CCE but are adults now.

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