Do you know exactly where your son or daughter is in the evenings and at weekends? Do you know every friend they have? Very few parents of teenagers will be able to answer ‘yes’ to both of those questions.
Schools and local authorities are growing increasingly concerned about the impact of County Lines on the young people in our area. This is a particular method of drug dealing which involves the exploitation of children and young people.
You probably think this isn’t relevant to your child. But it could be.
Reading is one of five cities where County Lines is known to be particularly active. It involves a network of very manipulative individuals who have tried and tested ways of coercing boys (usually) into drug dealing, putting them at risk of both criminal exploitation and violence. They do this by giving them phones, clothes, trainers, money and buying them food. They are made to feel special, respected and it gives them kudos all of which can be very seductive to a teenage boy. Girls also get pulled in and are often subject to sexual violence and exploitation. We know that this is happening in our community and you need to be aware that it could be happening to your child.
There are a variety of tell-tale signs but the most obvious are when a child has money, clothes, ‘phones but can’t explain where they came from. They are likely to return home late, stay out all night or go missing for short periods. They might go to areas away from home to meet up with people you do not know.
If you have any concerns about your child or someone else’s, please contact school or the local police for advice. Together we need to support our children.
For more information please see the leaflet below.