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Advice for parents and carers

Child Sexual Exploitation

What is it?

Child sexual exploitation CSE is a type of child sexual abuse where children receive something such as gifts, money or affection before being forced into performing or taking part in sexual acts.

All children and young people are at risk of CSE (not just girls!) however those with low self esteem, substance use, are susceptible to peer pressure and those who disobey authority are more vulnertable.

Young people are groomed by adults or other young people. The offender will try to build an emotional connection from the young person to them and will develop a fae relationship with them. Young people will be recruited into feeling they are not being abused, and introduced to a lifestyle they feel is normal. Once they are being exploited young people feel they can not easily change their situation due to the control they are under and lack of power they have. Young people may experience grooming online, at parties, in gangs, from older adults or from their peers.  Offenders prey on the vulnerabilities of the young people. Grooming can occur online though gaming.

  • Receiving unexplained gifts or money
  • Change of appearance/behaviour (Positive or Negative)
  • Increased/secretive use of mobile phone/internet
  • New ‘friends’, some of whom may be significantly older
  • Being asked to send explicit images online
  • Missing from home or care
  • Loss of friends and family support
  • Absence from school
  • Physical injuries
  • Drug or alcohol misuse
  • Involvement in offending
  • Repeat sexually-transmitted infections, pregnancy and terminations
  • Self-harm and/or thoughts of or attempts at suicide

If you are worried about a child or young person, you must do something – but it may not be easy to find out what is going on from them. Your child or young person may have been told not to talk about what they are doing or threatened with violence. Or they may think they are in an exciting relationship, which they don’t want to end. Try to find a time to talk to them calmly about how they feel. Your young person may open up and admit they are unhappy about a part of their life. They may even admit they need help. But if they won’t talk to you do not let the matter drop. Is there someone else that you both can trust that could talk to them – a grandparent, uncle or family friend? Or someone from their school or local community? Tell the trusted person about your concerns and ask them to have a word.




Children's Society