Child Sexual Exploitation

CSE: Definition & Guidance

Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.  Department for Education February 2017

A common feature of CSE is that the child or young person does not recognise the coercive nature of the relationship and does not see himself or herself as a victim of exploitation.  Perpetrators of CSE can be from within or from outside a child or young person’s family.  CSE also needs to be placed firmly in the context of abusive relationships and specifically; the impact that domestic violence can have on how a child or young person views relationships. For a child or young person growing up in such an environment, the impact of their experiences can create limited and limiting expectations with regards to what constitutes a healthy relationship; thus increasing their susceptibility to exploitation in the future.

Hackney CSE Profile

In Hackney, there are three broad CSE profiles:

CSE risk resulting from peer-on-peer abuse (sexual offences/exploitation against one or more victims and usually perpetrated in a group setting)

CSE risk from an adult perpetrator (typically a young person believing themselves to be in a ‘relationship’ with an adult after being introduced to them by a normally vulnerable friend, or through online contact)

Exploitation via social media (inciting or encouraging a victim to take and send explicit images of his/herself)

City of London CSE Profile

There is no defined profile within the City of London.  There continues to be a low number of cases relating to CSE. Over the last 2 years, the City partnership has intervened on cases relating to rape, sexual activity, possession of indecent images and grooming by offenders via the internet / social media.

Practice Guidance

This procedural guidance summarises the responsibility of professionals and volunteers to intervene effectively to prevent the sexual exploitation of children. For many, this will mean being alert to the ways in which young people can become vulnerable to CSE, the indicators that they are being drawn into exploitative situations and knowing how to report these concerns. For others, who have more specific safeguarding responsibilities, it will involve complex work to support victims and disrupt and prosecute perpetrators. For everyone, it will involve questioning attitudes and beliefs that may get in the way of recognising that children are being sexually exploited and providing the consistent, determined non-judgemental support they and their families need.