Four in five parents worried about county lines

More than 80 per cent of parents and carers are concerned about ‘county lines’ in their local areas, according to a survey conducted on behalf of The Children’s Society.

The research revealed that many parents were not knowledgeable about child criminal exploitation, or what they should do if they have concerns, with only 18 per cent knowing the risks of young people being targeted at transport hubs and on public transport.

The LGA has long identified county lines drug gangs as a significant and increasing concern for councils, with youth offending teams and council-run services under huge pressure over the past decade.

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said funding for council-run youth services had reduced by more than two-thirds in real terms since 2010, with limited funding for prevention work being diverted into services to protect children at immediate risk of harm.

“To robustly tackle serious violence requires multi-agency working across a range of partners, including health, education, local councils, the police and the voluntary sector,” she added.

“We want to work with government to help it understand these pressures and how it can provide appropriate funding for children and youth services, to prevent children from being exploited and ensure the right support is available for all young people, whatever their needs. 

“We also echo The Children’s Society’s call for a national campaign to raise awareness of child criminal exploitation.”

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