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Child Sexual Exploitation

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is a form of sexual abuse that involves the manipulation and/or coercion of young people under the age of 18 into sexual activity.

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. While there is no stereotypical victim of exploitation, it is a crime that can affect any child, anytime, anywhere — regardless of their social or ethnic background, there are warning signs in children’s behaviour that may indicate something is wrong.

The impact of Child Sexual Exploitation can have a devastating effect on the lives of victims. It is known that children and young people who have experienced sexual exploitation have poor health outcomes. The health impact is varied, with victims experiencing many forms of physical, psychological and emotional health difficulties.