Somerset hosts trailblazing conference to tackle child exploitation

Somerset County Council hosted a trailblazing multi-agency conference in Taunton last week, sharing best practice on combating Child Exploitation. Guests included the NHS, police, social workers and Representatives from the voluntary sector.

Somerset’s specialist exploitation Social Workers opened the conference, sharing their experiences of  working as part of a multi-agency team to help young people recognise when they are being used or exploited and how to find and use the support that is available to them. They also outlined examples of good practice highlighted by Ofsted during its recent inspection, which rated the County’s Children’s Social Care as providing  “good” services for children and families across the board.

Sammy Woodhouse, a survivor of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham  spoke movingly about her experiences and how  she has been able to help others.

The St Giles Trust – a charity which helps vulnerable young people who are exploited through gangs, serious violence and offending turn their lives around – ran interactive sessions with delegates, about empowering people to get the help they need. 

Councillor Tessa Munt, Executive Lead for Children & Families at Somerset County Council said: “This conference was particularly important to help Somerset focus on combatting the rising problems of child exploitation. Working together, Children’s Social Care, the NHS, police, charities and others can share resources and information, to build on the existing good work to protect our children and young people from exploitation and harm.”

“The Council is ambitious to continually improve its services for children.   We are looking to expand our excellent team of high performing social workers. If you’re interested in enrolling on our social worker training schemes or joining us as a qualified social worker, please visit  We look forward to hearing from you.”

PICTURED – Luke Peters from St Giles Organisation Trust Home – St Giles (

Luke is from Croydon and was part of County Lines until 2016, when he turned his life around.  He now works all over the country talking about his story and key points to spot when children get involved with county lines.