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Complex (organised or multiple) abuse may be defined as abuse involving one or more abusers and a number of children. The abusers concerned may be acting in concert to abuse children, sometimes acting in isolation, or may be using an institutional framework or position of authority to recruit children for abuse.

Use of the internet may be linked to the abuse. It can occur across a family, a community or care settings such as residential homes or schools.

Investigations, particularly those that relate to historic abuse, can be very complex in that the abuse may have occurred in a number of places, involving a number of people and those involved may be difficult to trace.

The investigation of complex abuse requires thorough planning and collaboration across the agencies involved.

Children and adult survivors may need support to access therapeutic services.

The senior manager will inform the Director of Children’s Services, the Chair of the LSCB and the senior management of the key agencies involved. The council’s press office will also be notified.

A senior manager will chair the Strategy Meeting. If staff members are involved, managers of those services should not be included and action should be governed by the Managing Allegations or Serious Concerns in Respect of any Adult who works or Volunteers with Children.

The Strategy Meeting should:

  • Agree the resources that will be needed and how these will be made available;
  • Agree the staff team that will follow through the investigation and who should be told that the investigation is taking place;
  • Any communication regarding the investigation should be on a strictly ‘need to know’ basis;
  • The timetable for reconvening the Strategy Meeting in order to monitor progress and evaluate the information arising from the investigation.
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