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Recognising child sexual exploitation

November 10, 2018
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Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child into sexual activity.

Perpetrators may buy children gifts or provide them with drugs, alcohol or cigarettes. They might show them affection and provide what seems to be a stable environment. As a result of this, children often don’t recognise themselves as being abused – they may see the abuser as their boyfriend or girlfriend, as someone who understands them or as someone who truly loves them.

Some of the possible signs of CSE include:

  • An unexplained change in appearance, style or behaviour
  • Low self-esteem or self-confidence
  • Being absent from school or being excluded because of their behaviour
  • Receiving gifts from unknown sources
  • Money and gifts that can’t be accounted for, such as a new phone or alcohol
  • Associating with adults or older children that you don’t know
  • Reduced contact with family and friends
  • Having a much older boyfriend or girlfriend

CSE affects both boys and girls and can affect children from any background. Remember, CSE also happens online and does not always involve physical contact - offenders may be asking for sexual images of children or arranging to meet them.

Cambridgeshire Police have produced a short video which shows some of the ways children might be manipulated.

Watch the video here.

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101 is the number to call when you need to contact Nottinghamshire Police and it’s less urgent than a 999 call. Calls cost 15p, no matter how long the call lasts.