What is Child Sexual Exploitation?
Child Sexual Exploitation is a form of sexual abuse involving children and young people receiving “something” such as accommodation, gifts, drugs, cigarettes, alcohol or affection as a result of them performing sexual activities or having others perform sexual activities on them. It can occur without physical contact, when children are groomed to post sexual images of themselves on the internet or send these images via mobile phones.
Threats, bribes, violence and humiliation can also form part of Child Sexual Exploitation as ways of coercing a child into performing sexual activities.
Sexual exploitation can happen to boys and young men as well as girls and young women.
It is important to recognise that ALL children and young people may be at risk of child sexual exploitation. This includes children and young people in strong and loving family units. There are however some children and young people who have greater vulnerability and these include:
What to look out for
- Children who are looked after, especially those living in residential care
- Children who have a history of physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect
- Children who have a disability, mental health problem or sensory impairment
- Children who are young carers
- Children who use drugs and alcohol
- Children who go missing from home or care
- Children involved in crime
- Children who live in households where there is domestic abuse
There are a number of indicators which can alert you to the possibility that your child is being abused through or at risk of sexual exploitation:
- Going missing for periods of time or regularly coming home late
- Coming home with expensive clothes or clothes that are inappropriate, mobile phones or other gifts and possessions
- Considerable change in performance at school or missing school
- Mood Swings or changes in emotional wellbeing
- Having older boyfriends/girlfriends
- Suffering from Sexually Transmitted infections
- Drug and Alcohol Misuse
- Inappropriate Sexualised Behaviour
Hampshire Constabulary has developed a programme aimed at engaging with children vulnerable to, or at direct risk of, sexual abuse and exploitation.
One of the objectives is to help children identify abuse they may be suffering and encourage them to report it directly to the police. Some of the children we’ve already spoken to told us one of the reasons they didn’t come forward was because they thought they were the only one experiencing sexual abuse or exploitation.
In an attempt to overcome this, and to demonstrate to children that the police are here to help them, Hampshire Constabulary have developed a webpage around the key message of ‘you are not alone.’ at www.bit.do/you-are-not-alone
that encourages children to think about the nature of their relationships, help them identify abuse and then report any concerns.
Hampshire Constabulary have developed a range of online resources which are available on their webpage at the following link: http://www.hampshire.police.uk/internet/advice-and-information/abuse-against-the-person/tackling-cse-resources-page
The IOWSCB MET (Missing, Exploited and Trafficked) Sub Group have produced a flowchart
showing the actions the Police take when a young person has been identified as either unaccompanied from abroad, missing or there is evidence of exploitation.