Case reviews highlight that child sexual exploitation (CSE) can be particularly hard for professionals to recognise and respond to. Confusion around young people’s rights and their capacity to consent to sexual activity means both young people and professionals often wrongly view exploitative relationships as consensual. This means that sexual exploitation often goes unidentified, and young people can be reluctant to engage with services.
The learning from these reviews highlights that professionals need to be aware of the warning signs of potential sexual exploitation and consider the child protection implications of underage sexual activity. Practitioners need to persevere to engage with young people and make sure the services provided are on-going and child-centred. The focus should be on ensuring young people’s safety, protection and wellbeing, rather than managing their challenging or risk taking behaviour.
Published: November 2013
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Child sexual exploitation (CSE) can take place in person, online or using a combination of both. This page explains what is, how to recognise it and how people who work with children can respond to it.
We evaluated our Protect and Respect service which supports young people who have been or are at risk of being sexually exploited. Find out what the key findings were.
Find out more about case reviews, find a case review in the National Repository or read our series of thematic briefings highlighting the learning around particular topics.
Our service is designed to help keep children safe online where there are concerns of online sexual abuse and prevent technology-assisted child sexual abuse (TA-CSA). It's also available as a virtual offer.