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Every Contact Counts sessions aim to raise awareness of exploitation among those in the wider violence and vulnerability partnership, and particularly those with public facing roles.

Working in partnership with the VVU, ECC’s Children and Families Commissioning team commissioned the sessions and co-ordinated delivery alongside Community Safety Partnerships with V&V funds.

The session gave advice and practical guidance on how to respond appropriately to child and vulnerable adult exploitation.

Children and Young People First delivered the sessions, which began in March 2020 as face-to-face training, but during 2020/21 and since Covid-19 lockdown, have adapted and moved to webinars.

By the end of December 2020, just under 600 people across Southend, Essex and Thurrock had attended sessions. Those attending included police officers, housing employees, park wardens, library staff and those in the voluntary sector.

The sessions covered a wide range of material, beginning with what is exploitation (for both child and vulnerable adults) and the importance of understanding this within job roles in the community; through to local reporting procedures; how to disrupt exploitation; and intelligence and information sharing.

Building on the title of the sessions, they also explored the moral, legal and social responsibility with regard to responding to and reporting exploitation, asking participants whether they and their knowledge could be the missing piece of the jigsaw.

Feedback from attending participants has been positive about the trainers and sessions.  Individuals said they feel better equipped to report any cases they may come across, it has made them feel mindful of their surroundings, and that local knowledge of the issue was valuable – the recognition that exploitation can and does happen everywhere.

We are planning further sessions and will publicise them when arranged.