Parental experiences of the impact of grooming and criminal exploitation of children for county lines drug trafficking

Dando, C.J., Ormerod, T. and Atkinson-Sheppard, S. 2022. Parental experiences of the impact of grooming and criminal exploitation of children for county lines drug trafficking. Journal of Public Health. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdac112

TitleParental experiences of the impact of grooming and criminal exploitation of children for county lines drug trafficking
TypeJournal article
AuthorsDando, C.J., Ormerod, T. and Atkinson-Sheppard, S.
Abstract

Background. County lines is used to describe the illicit drug supply model whereby drugs are transported from one area of the country to another, often by children believed to have been physically and psychologically coerced to do so. County lines is a serious threat to public health, with significant negative impacts on the physical and psychological health and wellbeing of children and families.
Methods. We conducted in depth interviews with parents of children involved in county lines to understand their experiences and the impact of grooming and recruitment. Interviews were conducted between December 2019 and January 2021. Thematic analysis identified four primary themes: (i) out of nowhere behaviour change, (ii) escalation entrenchment, (iii) impact of intervention failures and (iv) destructive lifestyle choices
Results. Parents from across England all reported similar experiences, and so these data offer novel insight into potential grooming and recruitment indicators. All were frustrated by the prevailing vulnerable narrative which they argued hindered understanding. A lack of consultation, and reports of numerous intervention failures was common.
Conclusion. The importance of giving parents a voice and involving them as a potential first line of defence, and how the current vulnerability narrative appears to be closing impactful education opportunities are discussed.

KeywordsCounty lines
Criminal Exploitation Children
Parental experiences
JournalJournal of Public Health
ISSN1741-3842
1741-3850
Year2022
PublisherOxford University Press
Accepted author manuscript
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdac112
PubMed ID36418244
Publication dates
Published online23 Nov 2022

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