Definition of Child Sexual Exploitation from the Department of Education (Feb 2017)

“Child Sexual Exploitation is a form of child abuse.

It occurs when 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 exploitation does not always involve physical contact: it can occur through the use of technology.”

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is an abuse of children and young people from all backgrounds and communities that is increasing and alarming right across the UK.

The child or young person (anyone under the age of 18 years) is encouraged or forced into sexual activity in exchange for something. This “something” can be wide ranging including;

~ gifts, money, alcohol, drugs, a safe place to stay, gang status or affection.

At the beginning the relationship may seem harmless and normal but this changes sometimes very quickly, within hours, and sometimes over a longer period as the “grooming” takes place. The “grooming” can happen online or offline without the young person being aware.

mobile with social media icons

Most children and young people use social media; mobile phones, the internet and iPads are part of school life and social interaction which means ALL children and young people can be susceptible to Child Sexual Exploitation.

“Children and young people are now able to communicate more easily with people, they would otherwise not usually interact with”

– (Digital Dangers- Barnardo’s Research 2015 Tink Palmer, Author)


Emma Jackson was thirteen when she was groomed and trafficked by a child sex gang. In her book “Exploited” she makes a plea for anyone concerned about CSE to “make that call…even if it’s just a doubt in your mind, still make that call. You could be saving a child from feeling like it’s the end of their world”


Child sexual exploitation may occur without the child being aware of events, or understanding that these constitute abuse. Online exploitation includes the exchange of sexual communication or images and can be particularly challenging to identify and respond to. (Dept for Education Feb 2017)


“It is crucial that we all share what we know about CSE with friends and family – the more parents who understand this danger, the better they are able to protect their children.” Parent (PACE)