Child Sexual Exploitation

Child Sexual Exploitation or CSE as it is also known, is a form of sexual abuse that involves the manipulation and/or coercion of young people under the age of 18 into sexual activity in exchange for things such as money, gifts, accommodation, affection or status.

The manipulation or ‘grooming’ process involves befriending children, gaining their trust, and often feeding them drugs and alcohol, sometimes over a long period of time, before the abuse begins. The abusive relationship between victim and perpetrator involves an imbalance of power which limits the victim’s options. It is a form of abuse which is often misunderstood by victims and outsiders as consensual. Although it is true that the victim can be tricked into believing they are in a loving relationship, no child under the age of 18 can ever consent to being abused or exploited.

The Children’s Commissioner has produced a report on sexual exploitation by gangs and groups found and that oral and anal rape were the most frequently reported types of abuse. Experts agree that these types of abuse are particularly humiliating and controlling, and, as such, may be preferred by those who exploit vulnerable young people.

Exploitation can also occur without physical contact when children are persuaded or forced to post indecent images of themselves online, participate in non-contact sexual activities via a webcam or smartphone, or engage in sexual conversations on a mobile phone.

Technology is widely used by perpetrators as a method of grooming and coercing victims, often through social networking sites and mobile devices. This form of abuse usually occurs in private, or in semi-public places such as parks, cinemas, cafes and hotels. It is increasingly occurring at ‘parties’ organised by perpetrators for the purposes of giving victims drugs and alcohol before sexually abusing them.

What are the signs that your child is / may be sexually exploited?

The Child or young person:

  • Goes missing for periods of time or regularly returns home late
  • Regularly misses school
  • Has unexplained gifts or new possessions
  • Has older boyfriends or girlfriends
  • Suffers from sexually transmitted infections
  • Has mood swings or changes in emotion
  • Uses drug and / or alcohol problems
  • Displays inappropriate sexualised behaviour

Further information can be obtained via the attached links

If you are worried that a child or young person is being sexually exploited you can contact

  • the police on 101
  • Children’s Social Care – Duty and Assessment Team – 01925 443200
  • Barnado’s on 0121 3595333
  • Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111
  • Childline on 0800 1111
  • the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000

FREE eLearning Course from PACE (Parents Against Child sexual Exploitation)

Pace (Parents Against Child sexual Exploitation) in partnership with Virtual College, has launched an interactive online information package for parents on the signs of child sexual exploitation. This free tool is designed to equip parents with the information and knowledge to safeguard children from this abuse. – to access the package please click on the below link: