Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse. Children in exploitative situations and relationships receive something such as gifts, money or affection as a result of performing sexual activities or others performing sexual activities on them.
Children or young people may be tricked into believing they’re in a loving, consensual relationship. They might be invited to parties and given drugs and alcohol. They may also be groomed online.
Some children and young people are trafficked into or within the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation can also happen to young people in gangs. What marks out exploitation is an imbalance of power in the relationship.
The perpetrator always holds some kind of power over the victim which increases as the exploitative relationship develops.
Sexual exploitation involves varying degrees of coercion, intimidation or enticement, including unwanted pressure from peers to have sex, sexual bullying including cyberbully and grooming.
However, it is important to recognise that some young people who are being sexually exploited do not exhibit any external signs of abuse.
Sex and Relationship Education Policy
Child Sexual Abuse Online
When sexual exploitation happens online, young people may be persuaded, or forced, to:
- send or post sexually explicit images of themselves
- take part in sexual activities via a webcam or smartphone
- have sexual conversations by text or online.
Abusers may threaten to send images, video or copies of conversations to the young person’s friends and family unless they take part in other sexual activity.
Images or videos may continue to be shared long after the sexual abuse has stopped.
Child Sexual Abuse in Gangs
Sexual exploitation is used in gangs to:
- exert power and control over members
- initiate young people into the gang
- exchange sexual activity for status or protection
- entrap rival gang members by exploiting girls and young women
- inflict sexual assault as a weapon in conflict.
Girls and young women are frequently forced into sexual activity by gang members. Research by Beckett (2012) found girls considered to be engaging in casual sex were seen as forfeiting their right to refuse sex.
The majority of sexual exploitation within gangs is committed by teenage boys and men in their twenties (Berelowitz et al, 2012).
Sexual exploitation can be very difficult to identify. Warning signs can easily be mistaken for ‘normal’ teenage behaviour.
Young people who are being sexually exploited may:
- go missing from home, care or education.
- be involved in abusive relationships, intimidated and fearful of certain people or situations
- hang out with groups of older people, or antisocial groups, or with other vulnerable peers
- associate with other young people involved in sexual exploitation
- get involved in gangs, gang fights, gang membership
- have older boyfriends or girlfriends
- spend time at places of concern, such as hotels or known brothels
- not know where they are, because they have been moved around the country
- be involved in petty crime such as shoplifting
- have unexplained physical injuries
- have a changed physical appearance, for example lost weight.
(The information has been taken from the NSPCC website: www.nspcc.org.uk)
If you have any suspicion of intended or actual Child Sexual Exploitation concerns, please contact the Designated Safeguarding Lead at Oakgrove School immediately.
Oakgrove Secondary: Mrs Rachel Cooke / Miss Samantha Watson / Mrs Jackie Murphy
Oakgrove Nursery & Primary: Mr Mark Sim / Mrs Sarah Bush