Child sexual exploitation

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) can involve swapping sexual favours for drugs, cigarettes, alcohol and other presents. It also may be having sex for money with several adults.

Young people may feel they must have sex because the adult is giving them something, or the young person is too frightened to say no, or feels too threatened to say no. 

There have been cases where young people have had sex with these adults, because they think (or have been led to think) that the adult is their boyfriend or girlfriend, when in fact the boyfriend or girlfriend is using them to pass them on to other people.

It is important to remember that sexual abusers are not always men. Sexual abusers can be women too.

"Chelsea's Choice" - raising the awareness of CSE

Chelsea's Choice is a powerful production highlighting the very serious and emotional issue of CSE. The production shows how young people, boys and girls, are groomed by adults for the purposes of sexual exploitation using various methods and eventually taking complete control and dominating their lives.

The production tells the story of three students who discover the diary of a girl called Chelsea. Chelsea was a young girl who, having fallen out with her friends and family, was approached by a man called Gary. Gary was older, owned a car, had a flat and treated her like an adult. Unfortunately, Gary was not what he seemed to be.

Chelsea's story is played out in this brilliant performance by actors playing the part of three students and their teacher, in an attempt to understand what happened to Chelsea and how it could be prevented.

You can view a trailer for Chelsea's Choice on YouTube.

All secondary schools and a range of educational providers in Derbyshire have been offered a free performance in November 2014. More information is available in the "Chelsea's Choice" document which is available to download from the related documents section.

The CBBC stay safe web pages contain useful resources and guidance for children and young people on many subjects, including an internet safety quiz, advice on child sexual exploitation (CSE), bullying, how to stay safe online and much more.

Ways that sexual exploitation can happen

Some adults can target young people in order to draw them into abusive sexual relationships. This can often be done in a variety of way:

  • An older adult is nice to you.
  • They start to show you a lot of affection and interest at the beginning of knowing you and make you feel special.
  • They offer you gifts such as clothes or a mobile phone.
  • They offer to buy you drugs or alcohol.
  • They sometimes ask groups of young people to come back to their house or parties where other adults are. Their aim is to draw young people into swapping or selling sex. They are not really your friends.
  • Once they have gained your trust, they may start to change towards you and change how they act around you.
  • They will ask you for sex or sexual touching either for themselves or people they know (in return for the gifts they have given you, or for drugs or alcohol.
  • They stop being the nice person they were initially and become controlling, threatening and violent.

Things to think about

Could this be you, or a friend of yours? Here are number of things to think about:

  • Do you have an older boyfriend or girlfriend?
  • Do you miss school or college?
  • Do you stay out overnight?
  • Have you been missing from home or from local authority care?
  • Do adults outside of your family give you money, gifts, clothes or mobile phones?
  • Do you take drugs or alcohol?
  • Are you secretive about where you go or who you are meeting?
  • Are you losing touch with your family and friends?
  • Do you chat to people online that you have never met?
  • Do you hate yourself sometimes?

Exploitation can be hard to recognise and it's important that you spot the signs that it's happening to you. 

It is also important for friends to speak up if they spot the signs or are worried about a friend. Often the friend will notice the signs before the person themselves, as often that person believes they are in a good relationship, when in fact they are not.

Speaking to a friend

If someone tells you something that worries you:

  • Remember (as their friend), to listen and not judge them.
  • Let your friend tell you in their own words what is going on and how they are feeling.
  • If you feel your friend is in danger, let them know you will ask someone for help this can be your own parent or carer, a teacher or professional within school, a social worker if you have one, a youth worker − anyone you can talk to and if need be, you can talk to the police.
  • Never promise to keep a secret for them.
  • And remember, to get support for yourself too. It's natural if you feel worried or anxious about a friend so you may need to talk to an adult.
  • Friends are often the people who notice the concerns first, so if you are worried about them before they say anything to you then don't be afraid to let them know. 

You can access the Think U Know website for more information on how to support your friends.

Remember whatever the problem is, talking about it can be the first step to solving it.

Think about all your different relationships

As we grow up, we all develop a variety of relationships - this can be with your family, close friends, friends at school or college, friends in the neighbourhood where you live, or a boyfriend or girlfriend. It can be with people you have known for a long time, or new friends you have met or new friends that you have just got to know, or even someone you have talked to online.

We all have to learn to enjoy healthy relationships, and that's a great skill to have. However at times, things can go wrong along the way, and people might try to take advantage of you, forcing you into dangerous situations before you know it. That's why you need to be aware of warning signs that someone may want to exploit you and to be very careful who you trust. 

If you are worried that an adult is trying to abuse you, or if you are worried about a friend who you think is being abused, tell someone you can trust such as a parent, carer, close member of your family or someone in school or college.

It's not always easy to talk about this, but it is important that you do. CSE is a crime and the police and social services will act to stop it happening.

Tips to keep safe

Trust yourself to know when something is wrong. If someone makes you feel unsafe, pressured, trapped or frightened, follow your instincts and get help straight away. Don't be worried about asking for help.

Don't trust people you don't know, even if they seem friendly and make sure you know who you are talking to online. Never give away personal details or agree to meet someone who you have only talked to online.

Don't be tricked into doing things that are unsafe, even if they seem like fun. What might look exciting at first could be more harmful than you realise.

Where to go for help

If you are in immediate danger and need protection call the police on 999.

If you are not in immediate danger and you would like some advice from the police, call 101.

You can also contact Call Derbyshire on 01629 533190.

Other sources of support and information

There a number of other sources of useful information and support available to help you. These include:

Safe and Sound Derby
Telephone: 01332 362120

Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation (PACE)
Telephone: 0113 240 3040

CEOP's Think U Know





Video resources available

The following videos are YouTube clips all about CSE. They will help you to spot the signs of sexual exploitation.

This video has been put together by Essex Child in Care Council as part of the National CSE Awareness Day.

This video of Shona McGarty from BBC soap Eastenders, explains how to spot the signs of CSE.

The NSPCC produced this video "The story of Jay" to help young people understand'grooming in relationships and how to keep yourself safe. It tells the story of how sometimes relationships aren't what they seem.

This video is a fairy tale with a twist, to raise awareness of children being emotionally and sexually exploited by adults.

This video is to help identify the meaning of grooming.

Related documents

Our documents are published in either Portable Document Format (PDF) or Microsoft Word format. If you have any problems accessing any of our documents, please contact us.