County lines and criminal exploitation

County Lines is where illegal drugs are transported from one area to another. This is often across police and local authority boundaries.

Gangs will often coerce children or vulnerable people (although not exclusively) to provide the transport. 

The 'County Line' is the mobile phone line used to take the drug orders. 

Child exploitation

Barnado’s supports children and young people at risk of child sexual exploitation. 


Grooming is when someone builds a relationship, trust, and emotional connection with a child or young person so they can manipulate, exploit, and abuse them.

Children and young people who are groomed can be sexually abused, exploited, or trafficked.

Anybody can be a groomer, no matter their age, gender or race.

Grooming can take place over a short or long period of time – from weeks to years. Groomers may also build a relationship with the young person's family or friends to make them seem trustworthy or authoritative.

Online safety

From online gaming to social media apps, if your child enjoys the internet it’s important you know how to protect them. You need to support them to make safe choices about what they are viewing, and what information they share about themselves online.

Signs that a child or young person may be being groomed or exploited online include:

  • talking about older or new friends they have met online
  • talking about gifts or money they’ve received online
  • becoming withdrawn or secretive
  • receiving large numbers of calls or messages
  • anxiety about being away from their phone

There is lots of information on-line that you can read and go through with your children to help keep them safe. 

Internet Matters

Internet Matters supports parents to keep their children safe online They provide age-specific advice, videos and resources to help you understand the online world and take control. 

Resources are also provided for schools covering early years, primary and secondary, with support from the UKCIS framework. Packs to engage parents are also available. 


Thinkuknow is an education programme from the National Crime Agency’s CEOP Command. CEOP works to pursue and prosecute child sex offenders. 


MOSAC helps all non-abusing parents and carers whose children have been sexually abused.


Pace (Parents against child exploitation) supports parents and carers whose children are being exploited by offenders outside of the family.