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Safeguarding: Child Sexual Exploitation

Child Sexual Exploitation

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a form of sexual abuse.

It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a young person into sexual activity.

a) In exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or

b) For the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator.

Whilst age may be the most obvious power imbalance, other factors including gender, sexual identity, physical and learning disabilities or social and economic deprivation can also create an imbalance that enables the perpetrator to assert dominance over their victim.

Like all forms of child sexual abuse, CSE can/may:

  • Affect any young person under the age of 18 years
  • Still be abuse, even if the young person appears to consent
  • Take place in person and/or via technology
  • Involve force, enticement or blackmail
  • Be accompanied by threats of violence or actual violence
  • Be perpetrated by individuals or groups, males or females, other children or adults
  • Be a one-off or a series of incidents over time.

Some of the following signs may be possible indicators of CSE:

  • Unexplained money, gifts or new possessions
  • Associating with other young people involved in exploitation
  • Relationships with older boyfriends or girlfriends
  • Changes in emotional well-being
  • Drugs and alcohol misuse
  • Frequently missing from care, home or education.

See the Kent Safeguarding Children Multi-Agency Partnership website and the additional links below for further information: