High Court injunctions used to protect a vulnerable young person

Six men from Cornwall have been banned from making contact with a Cornish teenager by the High Court sitting in Truro.  The civil injunctions have been made to protect the young person, who cannot be named for legal reasons, from sexual exploitation.

The ruling comes after the family requested help for their child from social workers at Cornwall Council and the police. Immediate action was taken, leading to a thorough investigation. The young person has now moved, with their consent, to a safe place and is receiving specialist support to help them recover from their experiences.

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Independent Chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Safeguarding Children Partnership, John Clements, said: “We will not stand by and allow people to treat children like this in Cornwall. Applying for these High Court injunctions shows how we are using the full range of powers available in law to hold people who abuse children to account, and to stop them from abusing other children”.

“Handling cases like this takes time. There are often no easy solutions. To take pre-emptive action without the consent of the child can be counter-productive and cause the child to go missing, pushing them further under the control of the perpetrators, and increasing risk of harm.  In cases like this, we are working with young people who may not feel able to tell us what is happening to them, or who may not see themselves as a victim as a result of being groomed by abusers. Grooming is like brainwashing. It takes time to work with young people to build up trust.”

Cornwall Council is one of the first Local Authorities to be seeking High Court injunctions to prevent and disrupt exploitation, and is making increasing use of these orders. There was excellent joint working with the police who prioritised their resources to find the victim when they were missing, and used their powers to remove them from dangerous situations and return them to safety. This included making arrests, considering warning notices, and criminal investigations.”

John continued: “Cornwall is a safe place to live and it is difficult to think about this type of abuse happening in our communities. Any young person can be targeted for exploitation, and both girls and boys can be victims. We need to be vigilant for the symptoms of exploitation and we are taking robust action to prevent it. This sends a very clear message to people who would try and exploit children: we know what you are up to, and we will come after you to protect children and young people across Cornwall.”

If you have concerns about the welfare or safety of a child please contact the Multi Agency Referral Unit (MARU) on 0300 123 1116. The MARU provides advice and guidance to parents and professionals about the wide range of services available to children and families in Cornwall.

Information for young people and families about exploitation, and spotting the signs, is available on the Barnardos website:

Information about how agencies in Cornwall are preventing and disrupting Child Sexual Exploitation is available on the Our Safeguarding Children Partnership website: