Complex safeguarding is defined by Greater Manchester Police as, 'criminal activity (often organised), or harmful behaviour associated with criminality, involving children, young people and adults with multiple vulnerabilities where there is exploitation, a risk of exploitation and / or a clear or implied safeguarding concern'.

Salford is part of Greater Manchester’s Complex Safeguarding hub and spoke model which is building on existing structures to bring together expertise, knowledge and skills to deliver services in a coordinated way in relation to the following strands of exploitation:

  • Sexual Exploitation
  • Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking (including County Lines)
  • Violent Extremism
  • Honour Based Abuse (including Female Genital Mutilation)
  • Organised Crime Groups / Serious Youth Violence (including Threats to Life)

More information about exploitation of children and the Salford Connect - Action Against Exploitation can be found on the Salford Safeguarding Children's Partnership website.

Salford Connect: Action Against Exploitation logo - a multicoloured handshake

  • Salford Connect is Salford's response to the exploitation of children and adults.
  • The multi-agency team was formed in January 2019, using existing Operation Phoenix workers, and since then it has expanded significantly. 
  • The team is co-located in Salford. There is a constant drive to further develop links with other partners in Salford to achieve our aims of improving outcomes for children, young people and adults and disrupt and prosecute perpetrators of exploitation.

Complex Safeguarding

'Complex Safeguarding' is a term used to describe criminal activity (often organised) or behaviour associated with criminality, involving children and adults, where there is exploitation and/or a clear or implied safeguarding concern.

This term includes, but is not limited to: Criminal Exploitation, Modern Slavery (including Human Trafficking) and Sexual Exploitation.

Within Salford partner agencies, 'Complex Safeguarding' is generally known as 'Exploitation'.


Contextual Safeguarding

'Contextual Safeguarding' is a safeguarding approach that focuses on understanding the situations outside of an immediate family environment that may put an individual at risk of harm. It was originally created to focus on children and young people of 10-25 years old, but can be applied to vulnerable / at risk people of any age as a way of identifying areas of risk and creating plans to minimise harm.


Transitional Safeguarding

'Transitional Safeguarding' is a term that has been used to highlight the need to improve the safeguarding response to older teenagers and young adults in a way that recognises their developmental needs. 

In keeping with the notion of Transitional Safeguarding, some areas of Greater Manchester Complex Safeguarding teams are working with Adult Services to develop an 'all-age response', recognising that the risk to young people does not stop when they turn 18 years old.



'Modern Slavery' is the term used within the UK and is defined within the Modern Slavery Act 2015. The Act categorises offences of Slavery, Servitude and Forced or Compulsory Labour and Human Trafficking.

Crimes covered by this term include, but are not limited to:

  • Holding a person in a position of slavery
  • Servitude forced / compulsory labour
  • Facilitating a person's travel, with the intention of exploiting them soon after.

Although human trafficking often involves an international cross-border element, it is also possible to be a victim of modern slavery within your own country. It is possible to be a victim, even if consent has been given to be moved.


‘Cuckooing‘ describes when criminals target the home of vulnerable person, often so they can use the property for criminal purposes such as drug-dealing, hiding weapons and other criminal activities. The term comes from the behaviour of cuckoo birds, who take over the nests of other birds.  A criminal will often befriend a vulnerable person in order to exploit them and use their property for criminal activity.  The person is usually intimidated and too scared to report it to anyone.

Please refer to the cuckooing page for more information and resources including interim multi-agency guidance.


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