Protecting Vulnerable People

The abuse, exploitation and neglect of any adult or child is unacceptable and Dorset Police is working with partners to stop those who commit crimes against the vulnerable.

A dedicated team of officers work for the Dorset Police Public Protection Unit and are responsible for investigating incidents which fall under the umbrella of Protecting Vulnerable People (PVP) as well as safeguarding vulnerable people in Dorset. 

Children and other vulnerable members of our society may be less likely to speak up if they are experiencing abuse, neglect or have been a victim of a crime, which is why it is important that professionals and other members of the public ensure they report any concerns if they believe someone is being abused, neglected or exploited.

Protecting Vulnerable People (PVP) Issues

Sadly there are a number of issues which can affect vulnerable people in our communities. These issues fall under the 13 strands of PVP. Click on the links below for more information about each strand.

Protecting Vulnerable People (PVP) Issues

Child abuse is where a child does not receive the proper standard of care expected from a reasonable parent or carer and includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse or neglect.

The Dorset Police Child Abuse Investigation Team (CAIT) consists of specially trained, nationally accredited detectives who investigate allegations or suspicions of child abuse. 

Follow this link for more information about child abuse.

Follow this link for information about child neglect.

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a form of child abuse and it is illegal. Children and young people who become involved face risks to their physical, emotional and psychological health and well-being. No child should have to suffer sexual exploitation and that all victims deserve a future with brighter prospects away from harm.

Follow this link for more information about CSE. 

Domestic abuse is defined as any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality.

Follow this link for more information about domestic abuse. 

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is illegal and is a grave violation of human rights. It comprises of all procedures involving the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or any other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

Follow this link for more information. 

Forced Marriage is illegal and is a violation of human rights. It is where one or both spouses do not, or cannot consent to the marriage and duress is used by family, friends or the community to get the person(s) to get married.

Duress can come in many forms and can include threats, physical, sexual, psychological abuse and emotional pressure. It is a form of domestic abuse and can in some cases be child abuse. Forced Marriage is not the same as an arranged marriage where both parties fully consent to the marriage.

You can choose if and whom you want to marry and should not feel forced to marry against your will.

Follow this link for more information. 

So called 'Honour Based Abuse' is defined as “an incident or crime which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and or the community.”

It is described as a way to prevent a person from bringing shame to a family or community, or punish them for doing so. Honour Based Violence will often go hand in hand with forced marriages, although this is not always the case.

Follow this link for more information.

With both modern slavery and human trafficking, men, women and children are forced into a situation through the use of violence (or threat of violence), deception or coercion.

Modern slavery can happen anywhere in the UK and Dorset Police are working to stamp it out in Dorset. With partners, officers target various locations across the county to ensure individuals are not being forced into work.

While our officers investigate these offences and support victims, modern slavery offences are often well hidden and so we need the general public of Dorset to be our eyes and ears also. If anyone believes someone is being abused or exploited they should not hesitate to contact the police and report their concerns.

Follow this link for more information.

Dorset Police works to ensure the public are kept safe from harm and that those who commit serious crime are brought to justice and no longer pose a risk to the public. 

Dorset Police has a dedicated MOSOVO team which stands for the Management of Sexual Offenders & Violent Offenders. The MOSOVO team is comprised of police officers, detectives and police staff investigators who are responsible for the management of registered sex offenders and violent offenders.  The team risk assesses these individuals to establish if there are changes to the level of potential risk of harm to members of the community. If there is an increase in risk, appropriate action is taken to protect members of the public.

If you have concerns that someone is committing violent or sexual offences report it to the police now here, or alternatively call 101. Always dial 999 if a crime is in progress or someone is in danger.

A missing person is anyone whose whereabouts cannot be established will be considered as missing until located, and their well-being or otherwise confirmed.

For information about the missing people the police are currently concerned for follow this link. 

Missing Children

A missing child is defined as a young person under the age of 18 whose whereabouts cannot be established and where the circumstances are out of character or the context suggests the person may be subject of a crime or at risk of harm to themselves and another.

When a child goes missing they potentially face many dangers as they can become particularly vulnerable to Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and other types of exploitation or criminal behaviour.

A missing child is vulnerable and should be regarded as an indicator of other issues. It is also important to remember that boys can be just as vulnerable to CSE as girls.

Many girls and boys run away to meet someone they have been communicating with on social media. For advice on keeping children safe online follow this link. 

There is a risk of harm to, and exploitation of, people involved in prostitution. There is also an increasing focus on human trafficking as individuals are trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced into prostitution.

Prostitution can take place both on-street, which is associated with kerb-crawling, and off-street, which takes place within private homes. Both men and women can be found to work in prostitution, or be forced into prostitution. Perpetrators involved in trafficking for sexual exploitation can also be men or women. 

The Law

In the UK the act of prostitution in itself is not illegal. However, it is an offence for a person in a street or public place to solicit another for the purpose of obtaining a sexual service as a prostitute; this includes the act of ‘kerb-crawling’ to look for these services. The reference to a person in a street or public place includes a person in a motor vehicle in a street or public place. It is also an offence for a person to offer their services by way of loitering or soliciting in a street or public place for the purposes of prostitution.

It is an offence to run and/or keep a brothel and that includes a landlord letting premises for use as a brothel, a tenant permitting premises to be used as a brothel and/or a tenant permitting premises to be used for prostitution. A brothel is defined as where is it believed/known that there are two or more sex workers using the address. 

How to Report

If you have concerns about prostitution you can report it to the police via the online form here. Alternatively if you need to speak with someone please call 101.

If you are concerned that someone under 18 is working as a prostitute (whether or not they believe they have consented) please report it to the police immediately on 101. Call 999 if you believe a child is in immediate danger. Prostitution of those under 18 is considered as child sexual exploitation (CSE)

Forced Prostitution

If you suspect that someone is being forced to work as a prostitute and/or is a victim of human trafficking, you should report your concerns immediately to the police online here or on 101. Call 999 if you believe someone is in immediate danger.

A person may be forced into prostitution if he/she;

  • is being forced to have sex for money, but has to hand over the money;
  • is being forced by his/her partner to have sex with friends or acquaintances;
  • is being forced by his/her partner to pay off debts by having sex with friends or acquaintances;
  • is being forced to have unsafe sex;
  • is being physically abused, blackmailed or threatened;
  • is younger than 18 (this would be considered child sexual exploitation - CSE).

Follow this link for more information on human trafficking and modern slavery.

 

Agencies and other support:

  • Sex Workers Risk Assessment Conference (SWRAC)
    • Joanna Cain: 07785 682 885, 01202 458 058
  • Dorset Working Women’s Project (DWWP)
    • Pauline: 01202 646912, 07973 235438
  • Drug and Alcohol Social Work Team
    • 01202 458 007
  • The Shores – Dorset’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC)
    • 01202 552 056

It is important to remember that being pressurised or forced to have sex or take part in sexual activity, when you don't want to, is a crime.

Pressurising someone to have sex or take part in sexual activity against their will is never acceptable for any reason. Being in a relationship with someone does not make it OK for your partner to force you to do something you don’t want to do

Consent is key – without it, any sexual act becomes a criminal offence. If someone is incapable of consenting (for example if they are too drunk or asleep), it is still sexual violence.

Dorset Police are committed to providing a comprehensive service to victims of sexual assaults.

Follow this link for more information.

Harassment is a criminal offence and is behaviour intentionally carried out with the aim of causing a person to feel alarmed, threatened, humiliated or distressed.

Stalking is also a criminal offence. It is different from harassment as it involves fixated and obsessive behaviour. It includes repeated attempts to impose unwanted communications and/or contacts on another in a manner that could be expected to cause distress and/or fear in any reasonable person.

Follow this link for more information.

Safeguarding is everybody's responsibility

A dedicated team of officers work for the Dorset Police Public Protection Unit and are responsible for investigating incidents which fall under the umbrella of Protecting Vulnerable People (PVP) as well as safeguarding vulnerable people in Dorset. 

While our officers investigate these offences and support victims, these types of offences are often well hidden and so we need the general public of Dorset to be our eyes and ears also. If anyone believes someone is being abused or exploited in any way they should not hesitate to contact the police and report their concerns.

Our officers investigate and support victims but these types of offences are often well hidden and we need the general public of Dorset to be our eyes and ears.

In the course of your professional work or day-to-day life you may see or suspect abuse, exploitation or neglect. Please ensure you raise concerns and ensure they are reported to the police or other relevant agency.

Be curious. Don't turn a blind eye, trust your instincts and look for signs of neglect, abuse and exploitation.

Click on the links for each PVP issue above to learn more about the signs to look out for.

 

If you have any concerns that someone is being abused, neglected or exploited please report it now:

Report to the police online here. Alternatively call 101 (non-emergencies) or 999 if someone is in immediate danger.

Report to Crimestoppers anonymously 0800 555 111.

Scams, fraud and cyber-crime targeting the vulnerable

Criminals are known to exploit and target the vulnerable. Scams and fraud such as doorstep crime, as well as cyber-crime are often targeted at the vulnerable. Talk to vulnerable people you care for within a professional role, as well as relatives and neighbours, to make them aware of how to protect themselves from becoming victims. Click here for crime prevention advice

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