CYCJ Publishes Scoping Review of Child Criminal Exploitation

Today CYCJ publishes ‘Understanding CCE in Scotland: A Scoping Review’ by PhD candidate Nesha Dixon. Child Criminal Exploitation (or CCE) would appear to be on the rise, but there are significant variations – across both regions and sectors – in how it is understood and responded to. There are further regional variations across patterns of CCE itself.

Exploiters continue to adapt to changes in both social and online landscapes in their efforts to groom and recruit children; most recently this was seen in the way that vulnerable children were targeted during the covid-19 lockdown period. By contrast, the inconsistent ways in which we understand and approach CCE, combined with it’s largely hidden and unreported nature, have led to significant knowledge gaps in this area.

This research seeks to establish a baseline understanding of the nature, scale and extent of Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) in Scotland. Addressing a paucity of research into this area, this scoping report, commissioned by CYCJ, Action for Children and the Scottish Government, seeks to provide the evidence base for future policy and service provision, and acts as an impetus for further research. Structured across four stages, it comprises a literature review, a synthesis of the existing data from across different agencies and datasets, interviews with professionals and a survey of residential childcare workers, as children from within the care system are disproportionately more likely to be targeted for grooming and exploitation.

Topics that are addressed include: current approaches and legal provision; the different types of crime children are coerced into committing; the profile of children who are most likely to be targeted as well as key issues, challenges and nuances surrounding CCE, such as underreporting, the lack of a single authoritative data source, the adultification and criminalisation of victims, the distorting presence of systemic racism and more.

Author Nesha Dixon will present some of the key findings from this report at a CYCJ webinar on 9th June. Tickets to this free online event are available HERE


The full report is available HERE

A young-person friendly version is available HERE

A 2 page Info Sheet by Donna McEwan, drawing on some of the findings of the report, is available HERE 

Supplementary research for this report was completed by Holly Maclean.

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Children's and Young People's Centre for Justice
University of Strathclyde
Lord Hope Building, Level 6
141 St. James Road Glasgow G4 0LT

(0141) 444 8622

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