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County Lines Scoping Report, May 2018

Scoping County Lines – A snapshot of challenges and emerging practice

Author: Jo Hudek

In September 2017, as part of a wider County Lines Demonstration Project led by St Giles Trust with Missing People, the Home Office commissioned national scoping research and analysis intended to:

  • gain a greater understanding of how the issue of vulnerable children’s involvement in county lines activity was being tackled in different parts of the country, examples of effective or emerging practice, critical gaps or challenges in services and how best to address them, and
  • draw on the results of the research to identify key local factors for effective approaches/services for supporting vulnerable children involved in county lines activity that can help to inform a national response.

This paper summarises the key themes arising from the scoping research, in relation to these objectives. The timescale, scope and evolving backdrop for the work means that it is by nature a snapshot rather than an in depth mapping or analysis of all services and approaches being delivered or developed. It is focused primarily on what might support involved and exploited children, rather than detection or enforcement, although the important links between them are considered where appropriate. The range and complexity of county lines means that this report is offered as a starting point to help identify key factors that can be further investigated and tested as part of developing effective local and national responses.

The scoping work is linked to an evaluation of pilot activity delivered by St Giles Trust and Missing People. The linked evaluation report explores in more detail and at a local level some of the issues and effective practice highlighted through the scoping research. Where key points are common to the scoping and evaluation work, they appear in both reports for ease of reading.