Child Sexual Exploitation

Child Sexual Exploitation

What is child sexual exploitation?

Child sexual exploitation (known as CSE for short) is a form of child abuse. It happens when a young person is manipulated or forced, to take part in sexual activity. The abuser works hard to groom the young person - it might seem like a normal friendship or relationship to begin with - gaining their trust and then exploiting that trust for their own gain. It can happen online or offline, and without the young person being aware of it. It may also involve more than one abuser and a number of victims.

Who does it happen to?

Victims and perpetrators can be from any social or ethnic background. Any young person can be a victim - it can happen to boys as well as girls.  

Who does it?

Abusers are often very skilled in exploiting young people, using affection, attention, treats, alcohol, drugs or a just a place to stay. Sometimes they may manipulate the young person into believing they are in a consensual relationship and that they love them. It is child abuse. Victims face huge risks to their physical, emotional and psychological health.

What are we doing about CSE?

Working with our partners we have developed a specialist team who are dedicated to safeguarding young people, working with individuals at risk, disrupting offenders and helping victims escape the cycle of abuse.

What can I do as a parent or carer?

As a parent or carer, it is important to discuss with children the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships to help them understand the potential risks.

Children and young people may find it difficult to recognise that they are being exploited. There are a number of practical steps you can take to protect children such as:

  • Making sure you understand the risks associated with your child being online and putting measures in place to minimise these risks.
  • Being cautious of older friends your child may have, or relationships with other young people where they appear to have control over your child.
  • Being aware of new, unexplained gifts and carefully monitoring any instances of staying out late or not returning home.
  • Staying alert to changes in behaviour, or any physical signs of abuse such as bruising.
  • You can read about other behaviours to look out for in our 'spot the signs' section on the left-hand-side.
Help us stop CSE
  • If you have any concerns please contact our child sexual exploitation team by calling 01302 737200
  • In an emergency call 999 if a crime is in progress or a life is at risk. For all other incidents please contact South Yorkshire Police on 101.
  • Alternatively, you can contact Childline on 0800 11 11 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
  • Further information and resources are available on the think you know website.


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