The Disrupting Exploitation (DEx) programme works one-to-one with young people who are victims of child criminal exploitation and their parents or carers. Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, DEx has been working across Greater Manchester, Birmingham, and London since 2018. We are committed to changing the systems around young people and we are passionate about sharing our knowledge on systems change widely across the sector. To achieve this, we work in partnership with others.

You can make a referral online for our direct work with a young person or parent or carer.

Our systems change work intervenes to disrupt exploitation and improve responses to young people who are being exploited. We focus on three workstreams: school exclusions, crime and custody, and transitions.

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Coming soon: behaviour policy checklist for schools: This March (2024) The Children’s Society will publish a resource to support schools to develop inclusive behaviour policies. This has been created by a group of young people who have experienced school exclusion and now advocate for other young people facing school exclusion. They have developed a ‘behaviour policy checklist’ through a number of youth-led peer consultations with groups of young people in London. This contains some context and recommendations on four areas: sanctions; uniform and identity; power and language; and communication. ****Email [Freddie Nickolds](mailto:[email protected]?subject=Tell%20me%20more%20about%20the%20behaviour%20policy%20work) to find out more.

Working groups: we are currently revising our working groups listed below, with new invitations coming out this month (February 2024). If you’re not already on the attendance list and would like to be invited to future meetings please email **our team inbox.**

Our school exclusions workstream aims to improve recognition of and access to appropriate support pathways for young people. This will prevent exclusion and exploitation and challenge existing exclusion policies, processes, and structures that disproportionately affect certain groups. We hold a bimonthly school exclusion working group where we discuss relevant topics and share best practice and learning and we welcome partners to join this group. Current projects include working with Just for Kids Law and young people to create a behaviour policy checklist. We have also developed an exploitation awareness toolkit to support secondary schools, along with a number of other resources and reports.

Our crime and custody workstream raises awareness and improves practice in response to exploitation within legal processes and aims to create a preventative multi-agency response to arrest and contact with the criminal justice system for young people at risk of exploitation. We hold a bimonthly crime and custody working group where we discuss relevant topics and share best practice and learning and we welcome partners to join this group. Current projects include developing an exploitation toolkit for legal firms and trauma-informed training for police forces. We have also produced free resources on topics like the national referral mechanism.

Our transitions workstream seeks to improve communication between children and adult services and, as a result, continuity in support for victims of exploitation. We hold a bimonthly transitions working group to discuss relevant topics and share best practice and learning and we welcome partners to join this group when we launch.

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Systems change is a process of working collaboratively with people, often across different groups, to understand and address the root causes of disadvantage for young people and the factors that contribute to child exploitation. It aims to redesign systems  and influence the people, processes, rules, power, and structures that they consist of to achieve positive, long-lasting change. Systems change at its heart involves identifying opportunities to innovate, learn, and adapt.

Systems change supports our direct, frontline work with young people and organisations and provides opportunities for us to reach a wider audience to help us achieve our ultimate goal of reducing the risk and prevalence of child exploitation.

The DEx programme has designed a theory of change to inform the direction of our systems change work. The programme’s overarching priorities constitute our way of working and our offer to all partners, whether they are stakeholders, young people, or parents and carers.

You can make a referral online for a systems change opportunity in partnership with DEx.

Partnership working is vital for systems change and for our direct work. By working with others, we seek to:

Our partnership principles and local offers provide further details.

The DEx programme is currently undergoing internal and external evaluation, which will be shared here when it is available. As a partner, you may be asked to share data with us about our collaborative systems change interventions. We do not share confidential data or any information that may lead to the identification of individuals we work with.