Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is the term used for contact or non-contact sexual abuse of a child, when there is any actual or attempted abuse of a child’s vulnerability or trust and an opportunity for the abuser to enhance their social standing or receive payment from third parties. Non-contact abuse includes online grooming and sexual exploitation. Children and young people under the age of 18 can be victims of child sexual exploitation.
CSE can take many forms but most commonly happens in one of the following ways:
- Sexual exploitation of children and young people under 18 involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people (or a third person or persons) receive ‘something’ (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of them performing, and/or another or others performing on them, sexual activities.
- Child sexual exploitation can occur through the use of technology without the child’s immediate recognition; for example being persuaded to post sexual images on the Internet/mobile phones without immediate payment or gain. In all cases, those exploiting the child/young person have power over them by virtue of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or economic or other resources.
- Violence, coercion and intimidation are common, involvement in exploitative relationships being characterised in the main by the child or young person’s limited availability of choice resulting from their social/economic and/or emotional vulnerability.
If you think this might be happening to you or to a child or young person you know, you should report your concerns to your local children's safeguarding team.