Child sexual exploitation: learning from case reviews

Last updated: 04 Sep 2018 Topics: Case reviews Child sexual abuse and CSE

Summary of risk factors and learning for improved practice around child sexual exploitation


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