Children who are criminally exploited are often extremely vulnerable, and at considerable risk of harm. Parents can be a protective factor for these children, thus, play an important role in supporting and safeguarding them. However, children who are exploited can display a range of challenging behaviours, and often, parents do not have the knowledge and awareness of criminal exploitation to understand these behaviours or to manage them effectively. Parents and extended family members need support from professionals to develop skills to effectively respond, support and protect their child from exploitation (The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel, 2020).
To strengthen family responses to criminally exploited children, this research seeks to understand the role of parents as a protective factor for their child(ren), explore how services work with parents to address needs and mitigate risk, and identify the opportunities to further engage parents in the care and support of their child. An ethnographic approach will be used.