What is Child Sexual Exploitation?
Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is when a child or young person is tricked or forced into doing something sexual in return for things like love, affection, money, drugs or alcohol.
It’s a kind of abuse and it is against the law, although young people might not see it that way, because they are groomed by their abusers. Gradually the abuser manipulates the child to do things they are ashamed of and by the time the child realises there is something wrong, they can feel trapped and are too scared or ashamed to tell anyone.
Both grooming and sexual exploitation can happen in real life and online. In fact, online contact often plays a big part in exploitation.
Find more about how CSE happens and spotting the signs here.
Spotting the Signs of CSE
Sometimes things that seem like normal teenage behaviour could be a sign a young person is being sexually exploited. Signs to watch out for:
- Becoming withdrawn, clingy or moody
- Unexplained changes in personality, mood swings and seeming insecure
- Nightmares or sleeping problems
- Running away, staying out overnight, missing school
- Changes in eating habits
- Talk of a new, older friend, boyfriend or girlfriend and unexplained money or gifts
- Spending a lot of time online
- Losing contact with family and friends or becoming secretive
- Physical signs such as unexplained soreness or bruises around private areas
- Or you may just be worried about unsafe sexual behaviour
Any one sign doesn’t mean that a young person is being sexually abused, but the presence of several suggests that you should begin to ask questions and consider seeking help.
Need to speak to someone
Call 0300 303 2880 to book an appointment or use our service finder to locate your nearest clinic.