Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a crime that can affect any child, regardless of their social or ethnic background. It can happen anywhere, at anytime, online or in person.

It involves offenders grooming youngsters and using their power to sexually abuse them. It can take many forms, whether it occurs through a seemingly 'consensual' relationship with an older boyfriend, or a young person having sex in return for attention, gifts, alcohol or cigarettes.

Sexual exploitation is child abuse and, although they may not realise it, it puts the young victim at huge risk of damage to their physical, emotional and psychological health.

Many young people who are being abused do not realise they are at risk and will not call for help. They may see themselves as willing participants when in fact their behaviour is anything but consenting.

There is no one kind of victim, but there are patterns of behaviour and signs that might indicate signs of CSE.

  • Has the young person received unexplained gifts or money?
  • Do they use their mobile phone secretively?
  • Do they have significantly older friends?
  • Have they been picked up from home or school by someone you don't know?
  • Are they associating with other young people who are already known to be vulnerable or involved in exploitation?
  • Have they started playing truant from school or regularly going missing from home?
  • Have they suffered from a sexually-transmitted infection?
  • Are they self-harming?
  • Has their appearance changed?

If you are worried that you, one of your friends or a family member may be a victim of CSE, report it to us on 101 or anonymously to Crimestoppers 0800 555 111. In an emergency, always dial 999.

Child Sex Offenders Disclosures Scheme

The national scheme means that anyone can ask the police to check whether an individual who has access to children has committed any child sexual offences. Started in 2008, the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme was developed in consultation with Sara Payne, the former victims' champion, along with the police, and children's charities.

Disclosure takes place if that person has convictions for sexual offences against children and there is reasonable cause to believe a child is in danger of being seriously harmed. Details of previous convictions will be disclosed to the person who is best placed to protect the child.

To find out more about the Child Sex Offenders Disclosure Scheme, contact us on 101.