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Parent Fears & Concerns for CCE Victims During Covid19 Lockdown.

We asked affected parents for their current fears and concerns during the Covid19 lockdown; below are some of the responses received.

CCE victims will be at home, missing, homeless, sofa-surfing, in social care placements or in prison. Each setting will present equal concerns for parents. Though the worry of missing episodes is eliminated in secure placements and prison, the concerns around safety, infection and poor mental health are heightened. 

We may be in lockdown, but indicators are that CCE and Countylines are far from, particularly given school closures and the reduced focus and safeguarding at the current time.

Please look out for and report any suspicious activity, now more than ever.

My main worry is that the public are so concerned about the current situation and a lot are at home so no eyes are out and about to raise concerns about behaviours / activity. Professionals are stretched and services are reduced and where do parents go for support at the best of times never mind with stretched services. No one currently is talking about CCE but it is still happening. My worry for my son is that drugs will be harder to get. Will the risk / pressure increase especially if there are any current debts? Will my son get stuck because he can’t get back in the current lockdown? This is increased personal pressure alongside the existing pressure /anxiety I face every day. (Parent 1)

The past year of county lines has been losing my son, so very grateful for a glimmer of him hidden under anger outbursts, damage to our home, the drill music, the uniform and constant lies. My everyday emotion is sadness and anger. I pray every day that one day I will get my son back before he is hurt or worse. I’ve lost friendships through this and family members struggle not to wash their hands of him, this is a very lonely place to be. (Parent 2)

Covid-19 has meant that my son has come back home from a place of safety and fantastically it means contextual safeguarding is now much improved! I expect the safeguarding to improve even more once they curtail transport for key workers only. It means the good work started in my son's place of safety can continue back home! I am hoping that he stays drug free and CCE free for the foreseeable future. In a weird way, the Covid-19 pandemic is helping. What a shame it took a pandemic to help safeguard my son! Of course, there is the fear that he will contract coronavirus and be seriously ill, but I just hope he falls into the 80% who will have mild symptoms. (Parent 3)

"It is trying times on top of what we as a family have had deal with. Sadly my child has been incarcerated - for being trafficked (CCE). The first thoughts that came to mind when the virus had emerged: I can only pray that my child would be well and safe behind prison walls. Trying not to get anxious is very difficult in these times as not only is there the concern and worry about my child’s health it's also about my child’s mental health as the uncertainty of how long this will go on for is damning. Being on lock down for longer than the normal regime is a distressing concern. All of what CCE comes with is never-ending so to have this strange disease is devastating. I'm not sleeping very well at night and I'm constantly experiencing flash backs of all past devastating events that I have been faced with to now have to worry about the conditions and how my child is feeling. The only positive from this atrocity is that this surge of life-style change (being on lock down) will reduce the number of young people killing each other and things will calm down (as I feel that the increase of knife crime/youth violence is devastatingly linked to CCE). It is imperative for the government to note if less murders are taking place, compared to what was happening just a few weeks ago; young lives being taken cold-bloodedly. It's not good times at all. Praying CCE will be taken seriously for our children / families in the very near future. (Parent 4)

I feel even more in the dark. My son still leaves the house. I have no idea who he is with. He may infect me and his 2 brothers. I am scared his drug habit is going to get worse. He's still bringing drugs into the house. Any support he had is no longer there or skeletal. We are heading backwards rapidly.(Parent 5)

People’s lack of understanding about CCE is so frustrating at this most difficult of times. Drugs will be in huge demand now because of lockdown and it’s our kids that are under immense pressure to deliver them. I don’t want anyone to spread Covid 19 but my autistic son is 20. How do I physically restrain him from going out? (Parent 6)

Keeping an eye on how they / we / everything adjusts. All safe and calm right now, never been more so in the past two years. Rural location, broken bike and no public transport is suddenly very helpful. But feeling wary, past two years every time I’ve felt the relief of ‘we’ve turned a corner’- soon after, I’ve learnt the reality that it all leads to an even darker place. Could it be different this time? A relief to definitely know when to report ‘missing’- I’ve never had clear instructions or guidance as to when I should or when I shouldn’t report missing. I only ever used my instincts i.e. depended on how concerned I felt. Hearing people talk about how they feel all messed up about their new ‘covid-life identity’, as their comparatively lovely ‘pre-covid’ life had vanished, i.e. they’d noticed two distinct lives: ‘Pre-Covid’ + ‘During Covid’, and that ever-present scary feeling ‘will there ever be a Post-Covid’? This reminds me of that (ever-present) feeling re my ‘pre-County Lines life’: it suddenly vanished, still inside me somewhere, but not tangible - and that ever present scary feeling ‘will there ever be a ‘post-County Lines life’? For others, the whole world is in the same boat as them, {=reassuring?} whereas for CL parents you’re completely on your own {= isolating and scary. Would be nice to hear some kind of Police announcement on what the Covid CL national strategy is right now? What are they doing about it? At minimum a temporary/ mini/ emergency national strategy needed?(Parent 7)

As a parent of a CCE trafficked victim, you already live in constant trauma and fear juggling numerous threats and risks as standard. This virus now adds another anxiety as my child is in the risk group due to an underlying injury from a life-threatening assault. It’s a 24/7 nightmare should he want to leave the house even for a few minutes, or worse if he fails to return. It's a rock and a hard place as you wonder whether being infected with the virus is preferable to disappearing as they'll be too ill to then go out." (Parent 8)

"The extent of manipulation and influence from criminal gangs on our children/ young people is strong. It can infiltrate at so many levels. My son thinks these ‘people’ are his friends and that they have his back. This makes me feel so sad for him as he continues to walk miles delivering drugs. His education and desire to work in legal employment has been obliterated. When he gets fined by the police under the latest legislation, he will take his anger out on me and his 15 year old brother. I live in dread every day. I hear them call him on his phone in the morning and then he is out the door to do their bidding." (Parent 9)

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