Child protection and safeguarding

7/6/2021 4:20:56 PM

2. Child sexual exploitation

What is it?

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is when a child or young person is tricked or forced into doing something sexual in return for things like attention, gifts, money, drugs or alcohol.

It's a form of abuse and it is against the law, although young people might not always see it that way, because they are groomed by their abusers. Gradually the abuser manipulates the child to do things they are ashamed of and by the time the child realises there is something wrong, they can feel trapped and are too scared or ashamed to tell anyone.

Grooming and sexual exploitation does happen in real life and online. In fact, online contact often plays a big part in exploitation.


(Video reproduced with kind permission of NSPCC.)

Spot the signs of CSE

Sometimes things that seem like normal teenage behaviour could be a sign a young person is being sexually exploited. Signs to watch out for:

  • Becoming withdrawn, clingy or moody
  • Unexplained changes in personality, mood swings and seeming insecure
  • Nightmares or sleeping problems
  • Running away, staying out overnight, missing school
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Talk of a new, older friend, boyfriend or girlfriend and unexplained money or gifts
  • Spending a lot of time online
  • Losing contact with family and friends or becoming secretive
  • Physical signs such as unexplained soreness or bruises around private areas
  • Or you may just be worried about unsafe sexual behaviour

Any one sign doesn't mean that a young person is being sexually abused, but the presence of any sign or change in behaviour suggests that you should begin to ask questions and consider seeking help.

Working together in Buckinghamshire to protect children

Partners in Buckinghamshire work together as part of the Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board to safeguard and encourage the welfare of all children and young people in the county.

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Last updated: 6 July 2021

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