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Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (CSEA)

What is Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (CSEA)?

Sexual exploitation is child abuse. Victims are manipulated or forced into taking part in a sexual act often in return for attention, affection, money, drugs, alcohol or accommodation.

Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (CSEA) can happen to any young person from any background. It happens to boys and young men as well as girls and young women.

Children and young people do not become involved voluntarily – they are forced into the situation by abusive adults or peers who present themselves as their ‘friend’ or ‘boyfriend’.

Young people may be targeted by abusers online or in person.

Signs of child sexual exploitation and abuse

Children and young people that are the victims of sexual exploitation often do not recognise that they are being exploited. However, there are a number of tell-tale signs that a child may be being groomed for sexual exploitation. These include:

  • Going missing for periods of time or regularly returning home late
  • Regularly missing school or not taking part in education
  • Acquiring expensive gifts such as mobile phones, jewellery – even drugs – and not being able to explain how they came by them
  • Having older boyfriends or girlfriends
  • Bruises, marks on the body, suffering from sexually transmitted infections, drug and alcohol misuse, self-harming
  • Associating with other young people involved in exploitation
  • Mood swings or changes in emotional well being, becoming secretive, defensive or aggressive when asked about their personal life
  • Displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviour

Even something that appears innocuous could be a sign that a child is being sexually exploited. Check out the interactive graphic from  NWG Network Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation which can help you discover the visible signs of sexual exploitation

Report it
Important: If you know or suspect a child is in immediate danger, you should dial 999 straight away. If you suspect a child may be at risk, or have any information relating to Child Sexual Exploitation, we would prefer to speak to you on the phone (by calling us on 101) or in person. Please talk to the police, you will be listened to and taken seriously and we will do everything we can to help you. Alternatively if you wish to make an anonymous report please call Crimestoppers on  0800 555 111 or complete the online form. If someone has acted inappropriately online towards you, a child or young person, or someone you know, you can report it to the CEOP safety centre.