What is CSE?

When referring to Child Sexual exploitation the LSCB has adopted the definition developed by the National Working Group:

"Someone taking advantage of you sexually, for their own benefit. Through threats, bribes, violence, humiliation, or by telling you that they love you, they will have the power to get you to do sexual things for their own, or other people’s benefit or enjoyment (including: touching or kissing private parts, sex, taking sexual photos)’’

As defined by the Young Women’s Group, New Horizons: 2008 (the nia project & The Children Society)

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) relates to children under 18 years old and is child abuse; it not only relates to adults abusing those under 18, children and young people can be exploited by their peers. CSE involves the child being deceived/ manipulated or forced into taking part in sexually activity either in person or via the use of technology. It could occur in what may be a seemingly consensual relationship or in return for attention, affection, money, drugs, alcohol or somewhere to stay. The child may not be aware, recognise or acknowledge that they are in an exploitative or abusive situation. 


Who does it affect?

CSE can affect all children and young people from any background. It happens to boys and young men as well as girls and young women. However some groups of children are particularly vulnerable such as, disabled children, children looked after, care leavers, migrant children, unaccompanied asylum seeking children, homeless children and those missing from home and care.


What do we all need to do?

Child sexual exploitation affects thousands of children and young people across the UK every year. As professionals working with children and young people we all have an important role to play in working together to safeguard children from Child Sexual Exploitation to ensure that every child and young person in Leeds is protected from being at risk of, or experiencing sexual exploitation.  We can do this by:

Identification - We should all be aware of the risk indicators relating to the vulnerability of CSE to enable us to identify whether a child is at risk of sexual exploitation.

Acting - We should act upon early indicators relating to children and young people in order to protect them and prevent them from further harm. If someone identifies that a child may be at risk of CSE, they should contact the Children Services Duty and Advice Team to discuss this. If a child is believed to be at immediate risk of harm, ring the Police on 999.

Vulnerability and Risk Management - where it has been recognised that a child is at risk, has been targeted or is being exploited, services should work together to manage vulnerability and risk. This is usually coordinated by Children’s Social Work Service and involves multi-agency partnership working.

Disruption - Services should work in partnership to disrupt perpetrator activity. This will include early identification and the sharing of information about individuals or groups who are believed to be exploiting children, between the police and services working with children and adults, the business sector and the wider community.

Some Risk indicators and factors to consider to identify CSE; the list is not exhaustive and the indicators are simply those mostly commonly recognised to indicate a risk of sexual exploitation.

Education - Truanting, Regular non-school attendance, Excluded, change in attitude , behavioural or management problems

Missing / run away - Comes in late, stays out overnight without permission,
persistently reported as missing, whereabouts often unknown, missing for short periods of time on a regular basis, from education, home or care.

Sexualised risk taking - - Inappropriate dress/ change in physical appearance.
Meeting unknown adults / getting into unknown cars. Internet used to meet
adults. Older partner, associating with other children /young people/adults known to be involved with sexual exploitation

Rewards - Unaccounted for money, or items such as new mobile phone, jewellery, and /or money spent or to spend that the child is unable to provide explanation for.

Contact with risky adults / environments - Associating with other known sexually exploited children and / or unknown adults. Extensive / secretive use of mobile phone / internet. Accessing unknown premises (homes) or known risky areas. Evidence of sexual bullying and/or vulnerability through the internet and/or social networking sites

Coercion / control - Reported limited /reduced contact with friends, family or in placement, disclosure of physical /sexual assault (later withdrawn), physical injuries,  whereabouts  unknown/estranged from family

Sexual health - Reported STI(s), miscarriage(s), termination(s) Physical symptoms suggestive of sexual assault, pregnancy

Substance use - Level of drug and alcohol use different / increased/concerning/chronic

Emotional Health - Low self-esteem, self-harm, eating disorder, attempted suicide, violent behaviour, angry outbursts, risk taking behaviours, offending.


Further information on CSE:

How Leeds is dealing with CSE

Current action being taken in Leeds to tackle CSE

Local CSE protocols for practitioners in Leeds