Child sexual exploitation
Child sexual exploitation is a form of child abuse. It occurs where anyone under the age of 18 is persuaded, coerced or forced into sexual activity in exchange for, amongst other things, money, drugs/alcohol, gifts, affection or status.
Consent is irrelevant, even where a child may believe they are voluntarily engaging in sexual activity with the person who is exploiting them. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact and may occur online.
Spotting the signs of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
Many of these signs can be common teenage behaviours, however it is important to keep an eye out for increases of the behaviours that may be a sign of CSE:
- being secretive about who they are talking to and where they are going
- often returning home late and staying out all night
- sudden changes in their appearance and wearing more revealing clothes
- becoming involved in drugs and alcohol
- becoming emotionally volatile
- using sexual language that you wouldn’t expect them to know
- engaging less with their usual friends
- appearing controlled by their phone
- switching to a new screen when you come near the computer.
The Children's Society has a list of the many other signs you should look out for.
Where can I get help?
If you are concerned a child is at risk of, or experiencing, child sexual exploitation, raise you concerns to the police and Nottinghamshire County Council Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).