Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

Child sexual exploitation is a form of sexual abuse.  It is sometimes referred to as ‘CSE’. A child who is being sexually exploited may sometimes receive gifts or affection in exchange to perform sexual acts on someone. Children are groomed in to believing that they are in a safe and loving relationship with the person that is exploiting them. Often children will be invited to parties, and given drugs and alcohol. They are then often asked to perform sexual acts on others. It’s also important to remember that CSE can happen online and to both boys and girls.

Child sexual exploitation is a crime.

It is a crime that is often hidden. Children who are being exploited trust their abuser, and can depend on them. In addition they may feel afraid of the abuser due to them having completely control of them. In another words, they may be fearful of telling anyone or asking for help.

Child sexual exploitation is never the victim’s fault. All children and young people under the age of 18 have a right to be safe and protected from harm. For further support please contact Catch 22.

Signs of sexual exploitation

  • If a child becomes secretive or stops going out with friends.
  • If a child is developing close or sexual relationships with someone who is older than them.
  • A child may go missing from home and when asked about this, may become defensive about their location and reason for going missing.
  • They may return home late or stay out all night.
  • They may be receiving more messages than usual on their mobile or social media, or you may notice them receiving odd calls or messages.
  • You may notice they are in possession of new phone , or expensive items and they may not be able to explain how they got them.

What to do

If you feel you, or someone you know is being sexually exploited, it’s really important that you tell someone about this. Remember sexual exploitation is a crime and needs to be reported.

  • If you feel you are in immediate danger call the police immediately on 999.
  • If you are a young person, talk to someone you trust maybe a loyal family member, a youth worker, a teacher etc.
  • Report this online, at ,
  • Call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.