Child Sexual Exploitation

CSE is a major child protection issue for communities across the UK. It is often hidden from view and goes unnoticed.

CSE is illegal activity by people who have power over young people and use it to sexually abuse them. This can involve a wide range of exploitative activity, from seemingly ‘consensual’ relationships and informal exchanges of sex for attention, accommodation, gifts or cigarettes/alcohol, through to serious organised crime.

The National Working Group for Sexually Exploited Children and Young People developed the definition of child sexual exploitation which is now used by the government and other organisations:

“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”.

Frontline practitioners from voluntary and statutory sector organisations should be aware of the key indicators of children being sexually exploited and know what to do if they suspect a child is being sexually exploited. Below is the NTSCB guidance for staff in relation to CSE and further information can be found at


Barnardo’s 2011 ‘Cut them Free’ Campaign

Advice for parents, professionals and young people on the signs of sexual exploitation and how to keep safe.

Barnardo’s has published aset of advice leaflets, available to download for parents, professionals and young people across the UK.

Get to know the tell tale signs, and a number of practical steps you can take to protect children in your life

Keep Them Safe – A learning tool by PACE

PACE (Parents against Child Sexual Exploitation) provides free on line training called Keep Them Safe. The course is aimed at parents (but practitioners will also find it valuable) and this e-learning is a valuable source of introductory information on what child sexual exploitation is, the impacts of this abuse on families and how to action in reporting or stopping sexual exploitation.

NWG Network

NWG are a charity and network of practitioners, groups etc. working around the issue of child sexual exploitation and trafficking within the UK. The website offers access to research, services, training and a membership scheme

Wud U App

Barnado’s has created a smartphone app, designed to educate young people about the dangers of sexual exploitation. It’s a free educational tool aiming to show young people the behaviours that could put them at risk of being sexually exploited, through illustrated, interactive stories.

Documents for Professionals

Child Sexual Exploitation
Operational Guidance for Staff

The guidance aims to provide practitioners with an initial understanding of CSE and outlines what action practitioners must take to safeguard children and young people and to support the prosecution of those who gain from this activity. Download a copy of the guidance Child Sexual Exploitation Protocol V2 210213

Child Sexual Exploitation – HM Government Guidance

CSE Govt Guidance__13 02 2017 (2)

NTSCB Sexual Exploitation
Strategy & Action Plan

The Sexual Exploitation Sub Group is a joint group between North Tyneside Safeguarding Children’s Board, North Tyneside Safeguarding Adults Board and North Tyneside Community Safety Partnership. The aim is to develop a strategic overview of sexual exploitation supporting a proactive partnership where those at risk are identified and safeguarded, and offenders are disrupted and prosecuted. This will include both child sexual exploitation and sexual exploitation of adults at risk of harm.

Child Sexual Exploitation


Child Sexual Exploitation