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Criminal Exploitation, Serious Violence, Drug Dealing and Knife Crime

Information, advice and support for children and families

Criminal Exploitation, Serious Violence, Drug Dealing and Knife Crime

Family members, friends and carers of young people are nearly always the first people to notice the signs that a young people is at risk of, or are, carrying knives and weapons; are being pulled into selling drugs; or are experiencing exploitation or violence in the community.

We know this can be a worrying time for everyone involved and families can be fearful of speaking out about the issues. The earlier we can get support in more chances we have to help them find safer options and achieve their full potential.

The following services for children and families are funded through or delivered by organisations involved in the Safer Options partnership. Safer Options involves organisations across the city who are committed to helping young people lead lives safe from fear, violence and exploitation. You can find out more about what we do by visiting the Safer Options page.

Because communities in Bristol are so different there are lots of ways to access support and help. It can feel overwhelming knowing where to start but we’ve made sure you have options so there is no wrong place to get help.

  • All schools and colleges have a link Safer Options worker they can contact to request help for you. Just ask a trusted teacher if they can support you to get the right support in place for your child
  • Creative Youth Network run youth services across the city including 1:1 youth work, wellbeing practitioners, youth clubs, creative courses, careers advice and youth groups. They also work with a wide range of other youth and community groups so there are services which are local to you. Fill in the online form.
  • Call Bristol City Council’s Children and Families First Response Team on 0117 903 6444 offer advice and guidance, access to family support and community resources and specialist services.
  • Barnardo’s ROUTES service supports young people at the highest risk of exploitation or violence including young people who have been hurt before or risk hurting others. They work with young people up to 21. You can self-refer by contacting them directly on 0117 9349726
  • Your local PCSOs can give advice or link you in with one of our local organisations. They work with specialist early intervention officers from the Violence Reduction Unit and run awareness projects in schools, sports programmes and positive activities in the city.

If you have information that you think the police need to know to keep people safe from drug dealing, serious violence or exploitation you can tell them about it:

The Child Exploitation Assessment Tool for Bristol can be found here.

What types of support can we put in place?

  • 1:1 community mentoring or youth work delivered by 15 organisations across the city so that you have the choice to work with an organisation who you trust. Focused on building positive relationships with young people, reducing offending by understanding the reasons for it and supporting them to make different choices.
  • Education Inclusion Support to help young people at risk of exclusion or being moved schools because of risks around drugs, weapons or violence.
  • Specialist alcohol and/or drug support with services like Bristol Drugs Project’s New Leaf Project which supports young people who have been affected by their cannabis use or St Giles Trust who provide specialist mentors with experience of gang and drug-related crime.
  • Girls Groups providing support to girls involved in or affected by violence, conflict and exploitation. Run by Hopes Place (in South); Creative Youth Network (in North); and Full Circle (in East/Central)
  • Targeted Group work Providing targeted work for identified peer groups delivered by different community groups.
  • Detached Youth Work Teams of youth workers are out in different areas across the city engaging with young people to support them to access positive activities and offer information, advice and guidance.

Parent support groups

For parents and carers whose children are involved in conflict and serious violence. Run by Full Circle (in East/Central) on a the last Monday of the Month 6 - 8 pm @ Docklands Youth Centre, 31 Brigstocke Rd, St Paul's, Bristol BS2 8UF To attend Parent and Carers Speak  meetings or for more information. Please don’t hesitate to contact Judith Davis on 0785171635 or Nick Bond

  • Parenting programmes supporting parents who want to learn more techniques for managing young people’s behaviour which is violent or destructive Parenting courses currently running in Bristol -
  • Missing person support for young people who go missing from home and their parents don’t know where they are.
  • Knife Crime Education Programmes - “Blunt truth” A session for young people on the risks of carrying a knife including emergency first aid advice.



County Lines

County lines is the police term for urban gangs supplying drugs to suburban areas and market and coastal towns. It involves child criminal exploitation (CCE) as gangs use children and vulnerable people to move drugs and money.

The Children's Society has further information, resources and advice on how to spot the signs.