Complex Safeguarding Wales

A CASCADE project

About Us

Complex Safeguarding Wales has been developed by researchers at CASCADE: the Children’s Research and Development Centre at Cardiff University.

The information is based on findings from a Health and Care Research Wales funded research project aimed at enhancing service and community responses to child criminal exploitation related to drug dealing activities.

This project contributes to the knowledge base regarding the nature and scale of the problem, and what approaches and interventions are most effective within the Welsh context.

A summary of our findings is available to download here: Parent findings summary.

Project aims

The research project examined how children were criminally exploited in Wales, with specific reference to drug dealing and the county lines model of drug supply.

The research objectives were:

  1. How does child criminal exploitation manifest in Wales?
  2. What service approaches and interventions are most effective in the identification and prevention of child criminal exploitation?


An exploratory design was adopted to explore the nature, scale and current responses to child criminal exploitation. The research was undertaken in three phases:

Phase one

Interviews were undertaken with young people, parents, and professionals.

Phase two

Findings from the interviews and research literature were used to develop this website. The information was was co-produced with a group of young people, parents and professionals who provided recommendations for content and commented on drafts. This follows the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act (2014) principles of co production where professionals should work with those in need of care and support to identify solutions.

Phase three

Young people, parents and professionals were asked for feedback on the website content. This information was used to improve the information and resources.

Research team

The project was led by Dr Nina Maxwell, Principal Research Fellow with a research team from CASCADE, Cardiff University.

The design and development of this website was supported by Bex Ferriday, Learning Technology Manager at Cardiff University.

Project advisory group

The project was advised by a group of young people, parents and practitioners from statutory organisations including professionals from education, children’s services, housing, police, probation, youth services and third sector organisations.

Contact Us

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