With funding from GamesAid, local charity Jigsaw4u would like to begin a much needed ‘County Lines’ project. With your vote, here’s what they would like to do to support these vulnerable group of young people.
‘County Lines’ is a term used when drug gangs from big cities expand their operations to smaller towns, often using violence to drive out local dealers and exploiting children and vulnerable people to sell drugs. In most instances, the customers will live in a different area to where the dealers and networks are based, so drug runners are needed to transport the drugs and collect payment. A common feature in County Lines drug supply is the exploitation of vulnerable young people. The dealers will frequently target children (often in local authority care or from dysfunctional families) to act as drug runners or move cash so they can stay under the radar of law enforcement. Young people exploited in this way will quite often be exposed to physical, mental and sexual abuse, and in some instances will be trafficked to areas a long way from home as part of the network’s drug dealing business. Children often do not see themselves as victims or realise they have been groomed to get involved in criminality.
Jigsaw4U’s proposed rapid response service will provide specialist interventions for local young people who are at high risk of or are involved in County Lines, and will remain with the child in the event that they become looked after and are placed outside the Sutton and Merton area.
The service will use our local police and social services networks to initiate support within 24 hours of a child becoming suspected of County Lines involvement.
They will build consistent, caring and professional relationships with young people, and use proven therapeutic interventions to help them safely move away from criminal exploitation.
Jigsaw4U aim to support young people to overcome the issues which led to the situation, such as complex or abusive family lives, being in care, poor mental health or negative social factors. Outcomes for young people will include increased safety, improved mental health, reduced criminalisation and better life prospects.
The project will also help the police build intelligence around how County Lines is affecting the local community in a confidential manner which does not place young people at risk.
Voting closes on Thursday 15th August so we don’t have much time!
To support this project, please visit here >