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Interagency Safeguarding Children ProceduresNottinghamshire Safeguarding Children Partnership (NSCP)
Nottingham City Safeguarding Children Partnership (NCSCP)

Child Sexual Exploitation


This chapter was amended in January 2022 to include information on sexual harassment and violence and to note the Review of Sexual Abuse in Schools and Colleges (Ofsted) see Section 6, Issues. This Report, together with Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy (GOV.UK 2021) can be found in Section 10, Further Information.


  1. Definition
  2. Risks
  3. Indicators
  4. Children who go Missing
  5. Processes to Address CSE
  6. Issues
  7. Supporting Children and Young People out of Child Sexual Exploitation
  8. Identifying and Prosecuting Perpetrators
  9. Supporting Children through Related Legal Proceedings
  10. Further Information

1. Definition

The sexual exploitation of children is defined as:

Child sexual exploitation 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 or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology. Working Together to Safeguard Children.

See also: Child Sexual Exploitation: Definition and Guidance for Practitioners (DfE 2017) This advice is non-statutory, and has been produced to help practitioners to identify child sexual exploitation and take appropriate action in response. This advice includes the management, disruption and prosecution of perpetrators.

2. Risks

Any child may be at risk of sexual exploitation, regardless of their family background or other circumstances.

Sexual exploitation results in children suffering harm and causes significant damage to their physical and mental health. It can also have profound and damaging consequences for the child's family. Parents and carers are often traumatised and under severe stress. Siblings can feel alienated and their self-esteem can be affected. Family members can themselves suffer serious threats of abuse, intimidation and assault at the hands of perpetrators.

There are strong links between children involved in sexual exploitation and other behaviours such as running away from home or care, bullying, self-harm, teenage pregnancy, truancy and substance misuse. In addition, some children are particularly vulnerable, for example, children with special needs, those in residential or foster care, those leaving care, migrant children, unaccompanied asylum seeking children, victims of forced marriage and those involved in gangs.

There is also often a presumption that children are sexually exploited by people they do not know. However, evidence shows that this is often not the case and children are often sexually exploited by people with whom they feel they have a relationship, e.g. a boyfriend / girlfriend. Children are often persuaded that the boyfriend / girlfriend is their only true form of support and encouraged to withdraw from their friends and family and to place their trust only within the relationship.

Many children are groomed into sexually exploitative relationships, but other forms of entry exist. Some young people are engaged in informal economies that incorporate the exchange of sex for rewards such as drugs, alcohol, money or gifts. Others exchange sex for accommodation or money as a result of homelessness and experiences of poverty. Some children have been bullied, coerced and threatened into sexual activities by peers or gang members, which is then used against them as a form of extortion and to keep them compliant.

Due to the nature of the grooming methods used by their abusers, it is very common for children not to recognise that they are being abused. Practitioners should be aware that particularly children aged 16 and 17 may believe themselves to be acting voluntarily and will need practitioners to work with them so they can recognise that they are being sexually exploited. This is not an issue that affects only girls, boys are also exploited. However, they often may experience other barriers to disclosure.

Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It can take many forms from the seemingly 'consensual' relationship where sex is exchanged for attention, accommodation or gifts, to serious organised crime and child trafficking. Human trafficking is the movement of a person from one place to another into conditions of exploitation, using deception, coercion, the abuse of power or the abuse of someone's vulnerability. Consideration is to be given to completing the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) when a child has been moved for the purpose of exploitation.

What marks out exploitation is an imbalance of power within the relationship. The perpetrator always holds some kind of power over the victim, increasing the dependence of the victim as the exploitative relationship develops.

Technology such as mobile phones or social networking sites can play a part in sexual exploitation, for example, through their use to record abuse and share it with other like-minded individuals or as a medium to access children in order to groom them.

Sexual exploitation has strong links with other forms of crime, for example, domestic violence and abuse, online and offline grooming, the distribution of abusive images of children, gangs, County Lines and child trafficking.

The perpetrators of sexual exploitation are often well organised and use sophisticated tactics. They are known to target areas where children gather without much adult supervision, e.g. parks, takeaway outlets or shopping centres, sites on the Internet, hotels or car washes.

Children may have already been sexually exploited before they are referred to Children's Social Care; others may become targets of perpetrators whilst living at home or during placements. They are often the focus of perpetrators of sexual abuse due to their vulnerability. All practitioners and foster carers should therefore create an environment which educates children about child sexual exploitation, involving relevant outside agencies where appropriate. They should encourage them to discuss any such concerns with them, or with an allocated worker from the specialist child sexual exploitation services, the Children's Society in the County and NSPCC in the City, and to share any such concerns about their friends.


This extract from The Office of the Commissioner for Children (OCC) Inquiry into CSE in Gangs and Groups (Nov 2012) helps to consider issues around consent.

"The law not only sets down 16 as the age of consent, it also applies to whether a person has given their consent to sexual activity, or was able to give their consent, or whether sexual violence and rape in particular took place. In the context of child sexual exploitation, the term 'consent' refers to whether or not a child understands how one gives consent, withdraws consent and what situations (such as intoxication, duress, violence) can compromise the child or young person's ability to consent freely to sexual activity."

Practitioners must also consider other factors which might influence the ability of the person to give consent, e.g. learning disability/mental ill health. Children under the age of 16 cannot legally consent to sexual activity. Sexual intercourse with children under the age of 13 is statutory rape. A child under 18 cannot consent to their own abuse through exploitation.


3. Indicators

Anyone who has regular contact with children is in a good position to notice changes in behaviour and physical signs that may indicate involvement in sexual exploitation.

Parents/carers and anyone in a position of responsibility with a child should also know how to monitor online activity and be prepared to - monitor computer usage where they are suspicious that a child is being groomed online.

The fact that a child is 16 or 17 years old should not be taken as a sign they are no longer at risk of sexual exploitation. Where children are turning 18 years old, transition plans should take into account the person's continuing vulnerability and need for support, adult services should be included where appropriate.

Children with a disability may have increased vulnerability as well as young people up to the age of 21 who were looked after for whom the local authority has statutory care leaver responsibility and / or where there may be child in need and/or child protection issues.

Types of Child Sexual Exploitation

Child Sexual Exploitation: Definition and Guidance for Practitioners (DfE 2017) advises:

Child sexual exploitation takes many different forms. It can include contact and non-contact sexual activities and can occur online or in person, or a combination of each.

The following illustrative examples, although very different in nature and potentially involving different sexual or other offences, could all fall under the definition of child sexual exploitation:

  • A 44 year old female posing as a 17 year old female online and persuading a 12 year old male to send her a sexual image, and then threatening to tell his parents if he doesn't continue to send more explicit images;
  • A 14 year old male giving a 17 year old male oral sex because the older male has threatened to tell his parents he is gay if he refuses;
  • A 14 year old female having sex with a 16 year old gang member and his two friends in return for the protection of the gang;
  • A 13 year old female offering and giving an adult male taxi driver sexual intercourse in return for a taxi fare home;
  • A 21 year old male persuading his 17 year old 'girlfriend' to have sex with his friends to pay off a drug debt;
  • A mother letting other adults abuse her 8 year old child in return for money;
  • A group of men bringing two 17 year old females to a hotel in another town and charging others to have sex with them; and
  • Three 15 year old females being taken to a house party and given 'free' alcohol and drugs, then made to have sex with six adult males to pay for this.

These examples are not exhaustive: other forms of child sexual exploitation occur, and new forms continue to develop. Nor are they mutually exclusive – some children will suffer abuse across a range of scenarios, either simultaneously or in succession.

Practitioners should be aware of the following vulnerabilities (child's experiences) and key indicators of child sexual exploitation. Professionals should remain open to the fact that child sexual exploitation can occur without any of these risk indicators being obviously present. This list is not exhaustive, but includes:


  • Physical symptoms (bruising suggestive of either physical or sexual assault);
  • Chronic fatigue;
  • Recurring or multiple sexually transmitted infections;
  • Pregnancy and/or seeking an abortion;
  • Evidence of drug, alcohol or other substance misuse;
  • Sexual behaviour outside the expectations for the age group;
  • Disclosures of sexual assault followed by withdrawal;
  • Attendance at appointments with older adults who are not parents or relatives.


  • Truancy/disengagement with education or considerable change in performance at school.

Emotional and Behavioural Issues

  • Social or learning difficulties, diagnosed or suspected;
  • Volatile behaviour exhibiting extreme array of mood swings or use of abusive language;
  • Increased or excessive use of mobile devices and/or social media;
  • Involvement in petty crime such as shoplifting, stealing;
  • Involvement in gangs;
  • Secretive behaviour;
  • Entering or leaving vehicles driven by unknown adults;
  • Reports of being seen in places known to be used for CSE, sexual activity and/or adult venues. Previous CSE concerns for this child, siblings and/or friends.


  • Low self-image, low self-esteem, self-harming behaviours, mental health concerns. Subject to bullying;
  • Questions regarding sexual orientation.


  • Hostility in relationships with staff, family members as appropriate and significant others;
  • Physical aggression;
  • Placement breakdown;
  • Reports from reliable sources (e.g. family, friends or other professionals) suggesting the likelihood of involvement in sexual exploitation;
  • Detachment from age-appropriate activities;
  • Associating with other young people who are known to be sexually exploited;
  • Known sexual activity outside the range of expectations for the age group;
  • Sexual or other unexplained relationship(s) with an adult(s);
  • Phone calls, text messages, internet contact or letters from unknown adults;
  • Multiple callers to address; home;
  • Persistently missing, staying out overnight or returning late with no plausible explanation;
  • Returning after having been missing with concerning presentation; Missing for long periods, with no known home base;
  • Going missing and being found in areas where they have no known links;
  • Involving peers/friends in exploitative situations;
  • Association with known CSE perpetrators

Please note: While the focus is often on older men as perpetrators, peers, younger men and women may also be involved and practitioners should be aware of this possibility.

Social Presentation

  • Change in appearance;
  • Going out dressed in clothing unusual for them

Family and Environmental Factors

  • History of physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse; neglect; domestic violence; parental difficulties (DV, learning difficulties, mental ill health, substance misuse); bereavement;
  • Lack of protective factors in family unit;
  • Looked after child.


  • Pattern of previous street homelessness;
  • Having keys to premises other than those known about.


  • Lack of financial support;
  • Possession of amounts of money with no plausible explanation;
  • Acquisition of clothes, mobile phones or other possessions without plausible explanation;
  • Accounts of social activities with no plausible explanation of the source of necessary funding.

Other Areas to Consider

Practitioners should be aware that many children who are sexually exploited do not see themselves as victims. In such situations, discussions with them about concerns should be handled with great sensitivity. Seeking prior advice from specialist agencies may be useful. This should not involve disclosing personal, identifiable information at this stage.

Legal status

In assessing whether a child is a victim of sexual exploitation, or at risk, careful consideration should be given to the issue of consent. It is important to bear in mind that:

  • A child under the age of 13 is not legally capable of consenting to sex (it is statutory rape) or any other type of sexual touching;
  • Sexual activity with a child under 16 is also an offence;
  • It is an offence for a person to have a sexual relationship with a 16 or 17 year old if they hold a position of trust or authority in relation to them;
  • Where sexual activity with a 16 or 17-year-old does not result in an offence being committed, it may still be exploitation and result in harm, or the likelihood of harm being suffered;
  • Non-consensual sex is rape whatever the age of the victim; and
  • If the victim is incapacitated through drink or drugs, or the victim or his or her family has been subject to violence or the threat of it, they cannot be considered to have given true consent; therefore offences may have been committed;
  • Any child under 18 could be at risk of Child sexual exploitation.

With effect from 29 June 2021, section 69 Domestic Abuse Act 2021 expanded so-called ‘revenge porn’ to include threats to disclose private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress.


It is the responsibility of all Agencies to ensure their staff are trained to identify and address CSE including what information should be given to the police in such cases, for example vehicle registration numbers, names, physical descriptions. It should include what action staff should take in the case of suspected sexual or physical abuse in order to protect potential evidence, which may be useful in the case of an alleged perpetrator being prosecuted.

4. Children who go Missing

A significant number of children who are being sexually exploited may go Missing from home or care, and education. Those children considered 'hidden missing' and those who go missing frequently are more vulnerable to being sexually exploited. If a child does go missing, the Children Missing from home care and joint procedures should be followed. Return Interviews with the child can help in establishing why they went missing and the subsequent support that may be required, as well as preventing repeat incidents. Information gathered from return interviews can be used to inform the identification for Referral and Assessment of any child sexual exploitation cases.

Looked After Children

Looked After children are acknowledged as one of the groups most vulnerable to CSE.

The Social Worker and the Independent Reviewing Officer must be kept informed of any concerns relating to child sexual exploitation or any other form of suspected abuse. The child / young person's Care Plan must include a strategy to keep them safe and it must be updated and reviewed regularly by Children's Social Care.

5. Processes to Address CSE

(See County and City CSE Flowcharts in Additional Resources).

Where a practitioner believes a child may be or has been sexually exploited, a Referral should be made to MASH in the County and Child and Families Direct in the City where the risk will be assessed and prioritised with relevant information collated from Police, Health, Education and other relevant Agencies. The case will be passed to the appropriate team for assessment.

When a case is already open to Children's Social Care, concerns regarding CSE are to be referred to the allocated Social Worker.

It is helpful for partner agencies to complete the CSE Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Tool (or their own CSE Risk Assessment Tools where applicable) as far as possible when referring CSE concerns to MASH (County) or Child and Families Direct (City) or the allocated Social Worker when a case is already open.

In cases of immediate harm, referrals to children's social care should not be delayed pending completion of risk assessments.

The Team Manager/Children's Social Care (CSC) will record a clear decision stating whether the case is considered as:

S17 - when a child is considered in need of support and initial assessments suggest the risk can be managed outside the child protection process. For example a child is going missing, associating with unidentified older friends and has unexplained money/gifts or the exploitation is very limited and online only, parents are protective and engaging with support.

Or S47 - when a child is deemed in need of protection and has suffered or is likely to suffer significant harm, for example a child has been groomed by an older person(s) or there has been attempted or actual contact, including sexual, with older person(s); the alleged perpetrator is local and may still be in contact with the child, parents may be supportive but unable to protect their child. CSC will hold a Strategy Discussion with the Police, Health and other relevant agencies to agree S47 enquiries.

Where parents/carers are deemed unprotective or present a risk to the child, the S47 decision is likely to result in an Initial Child Protection Conference.

This decision is made in consultation with the Team Manager, CPC CSE lead (County)/CSE Coordinator (City) and Children's Services Managers. The need for an additional stand-alone CSE Risk Strategy meeting will be determined by the needs of each case.

Refer to: NSCP/NCSCP Interagency Safeguarding Children Procedures.

If a child requires a medical examination as part of the S47 enquiry, this must be arranged through the East Midlands Children and Young People Sexual Assault Service (EMCYPSAS).

Where immediate action is required, CSC and the police will act to secure the child's immediate safety. This may include removing the child from the home of a person who is exploiting them, in this instance, professionals should not underestimate the power of perpetrators to locate the child. Where LA placements are required, carers require experience in building trusting relationships and skills in containing young people.

Secure accommodation may be considered in extreme circumstances, if children are at grave risk of Significant Harm.

Child Sexual Exploitation Risk Assessment Tools

Children's Social Care will complete the CSE Risk Assessment Tool for all children considered at risk of CSE. The completion of the Risk Assessment may inform the decision making and whether to deem a case S17 or S47.

The CSE Risk Assessment Tool should be completed as soon as possible and no later than 10 working days from allocation. In all cases it should be completed prior to either the CSE Strategy Meeting or the ICPC as applicable.

The CSE Risk Assessment Tool should be completed to reflect the level of risk at the time of the incident rather than the reduced risk once the activity has been disrupted or stopped.

N.B. While it is helpful to gain the views of the child and parents/carers, this should not delay the completion of the CSE Risk Assessment Tool. County CSC complete the Mosaic CSE Risk Assessment and Child and Families Direct (City) complete the CSE Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Tool.

Social Workers must discuss CSE Risk Assessment Tools with Medium or High outcomes with the Team Manager and the CPC CSE lead (County), or the CSE Co-ordinator (City), to agree convening a Child Sexual Exploitation Strategy Meeting (where a decision has been made not to proceed to ICPC).

When Social Workers complete CSE Risk Assessment Tools with Low outcome continue to have concerns about the risk of CSE, they must discuss these cases with the Team Manager and the CPC CSE lead (County) or the CSE Co-ordinator (City).

Social Workers and professionals should be aware that protective parents do not negate the risk of CSE or the need for services to address CSE, including holding a CSE Strategy meeting.

CSE Risk Assessments should be revised as new information becomes available; they can be completed to show progress/reduced risk.

The Child Sexual Exploitation Strategy Meeting

(N.B. When CSE is managed through the Child Protection process, the below applies in order to fully assess and address the CSE Risks. The Core group should agree the detailed Child Protection Plan to address the CSE risk between review conferences).

Is a multi-agency meeting to share information, agree the level of risk and vulnerability and support required and make safety/ disruption plans.

A CSE Strategy meeting should be convened when:

  • A child has been sexually exploited; or
  • There is an ongoing police investigation re CSE; or
  • There is evidence a child is at risk of being sexually exploited.

Requests for a CSE Strategy meeting should be made to the CPC CSE lead in the County and the SE Co-ordinator in the City (see above)

The CSE Strategy Meeting should be convened within 5 working days from the point of agreement with the CPC CSE lead in the County and the CSE Co-ordinator in the City that a CSE Strategy meeting is required.

The CSE Strategy Meeting will be chaired by a Child Protection Co-ordinator (County) or an Independent Reviewing Officer (City).

Invites should be sent to:

  • Parents/carers and the child;
  • The MASH Police for attention of the Sexual Exploitation Unit, include the completed CSE Risk Assessment Tool;
  • Education;
  • Health including GU Health;
  • Children's Society (County) or NSPCC (City); and
  • Any other professionals involved with the child.

The child and their parents/carers should be actively encouraged and supported to attend the CSE Strategy meeting. The allocated Social Worker should prepare the child and family for attendance at the meeting.

Should the child and or their parents/carers not attend the meeting, reasons for their absence or exclusion (in exceptional circumstances) should be clearly recorded. The outcome of the meeting will be relayed by the Social Worker to the child and parents/carers immediately following the meeting, this may be in conjunction with the parent or a professional with a good relationship with the child. This should be explicitly agreed in the meeting and recorded as part of the Action Plan. There should also be a recorded discussion as to any potential risks to the young person arising from the sharing of this information and a plan as to how any risk is mitigated.

Social Workers are required to complete a CSE Report to inform the CSE Strategy meeting.

In the County the CSE Report proforma is sent to the Social Worker by cpconf when the date of the CSE Strategy Meeting is agreed.

In the City the CSE coordinator will review all CSE risk assessment tools to agree the threshold for a strategy meeting is met. Once the strategy meeting is arranged, the Social Workers will ensure the toolkit is shared with all relevant agencies and this forms the basis of the strategy meeting.

Each meeting should clearly state, with rationale:

  • The type of exploitation being experienced by the child;
  • The child's view of the situation;
  • Whether any other children are potentially at risk;
  • Whether the young person has any special needs, significant health conditions or learning difficulties;
  • The level (low, medium, high) of risk of exploitation the child is exposed to;
  • How arrangements to keep the child safe will be co-ordinated with the police investigation; and
  • the meeting's view of the child's level (low, medium, high) of vulnerability based on the information provided to the meeting;
  • Where possible, the perpetrators should be identified, and full details provided, this may require a confidential slot;
  • Also see above.

Each initial CSE meeting should develop a CSE Action and Safety/Disruption plan for review at subsequent meetings. The plan should be SMART and address the police investigation, support for the child and family, safeguards for the child and disruptions of the CSE.

Review meetings are booked in complex situations, for example when more than one child or perpetrator is involved, the exploitation is not fully understood or is ongoing. The CSE Action and Safety/Disruption plan must be updated at each meeting.

Once the concerns giving rise to the CSE Strategy meeting are addressed and the required support is in place, the meeting can agree the CSE Action and Safety/Disruption plans will be managed through ongoing Child in Need; Child Protection or Looked After processes.

In cases where there is no ongoing Children's Social Care process, the Social Worker must ensure children are referred to and are given every opportunity to participate in direct CSE prevention work through The Children's Society (County) and NSPCC (City), this may require an EHAF.

Multi Agency Sexual Exploitation Meeting - MASE

This meeting is attended by representatives from Children's Social Care, Police, Health including Sexual Health and Public Health, Education, Family Service, District Councils and The Children's Society.

The meeting is held monthly to have oversight of those children who are on the Police CAROSE, subject to CSE strategy meetings or thought to require oversight, particularly where there is a high risk or a concern that existing plans may not be decreasing the level of risk. Where appropriate to provide scrutiny, challenge and guidance.

The meeting serves to triangulate information about children at risk, perpetrators and places of concern, it agrees levels of risk and makes recommendations aimed at reducing the risk.

Up to date information is provided by the Social Worker and those partner Agencies involved with the child.

Where cases are discussed agreed actions are agreed with partner agencies. A case note will be placed on the child's social care file to reflect actions agreed.

Cases are rag rated and tracked until rated 'green'.

Concerns Network Meeting - CNM

Concerns about locations and perpetrators can be submitted to the police through Operation Striver forms and will be considered at the Concerns Network Meeting. Any concerns about an identified child should be referred to Children's Social Care.

This is a multi-agency meeting held bi-monthly to share intelligence relating to suspected CSE with the aim of disrupting potential CSE activities.

The meeting is attended by Children's Social Care, Police, Health including Sexual Health and Public Health, Education, Family Service, Local Authority and Private Sector Residential Care and The Children's Society.

The information submitted by professionals to the Police on Operation Striver forms is shared with partner agencies and Police share general intelligence relating to CSE.

Professionals attending ensure relevant information is appropriately shared in their team/organisation in the context of individual cases.

See Operation Striver form: Striver Information Form.

6. Issues

Working with sexually exploited children is a complex area and can involve serious crime and investigations over a wide geographical area.

Children may be frightened of the consequences of disclosure and may need to be given time to discuss their experiences.

The need to share information discreetly in a timely fashion has been shown to be vital in these cases.

Agencies and practitioners involved with a child or young person experiencing child sexual exploitation must consider disruption strategies which support the child or young person to leave the situation they find themselves in.

The Review of Sexual Abuse in Schools and Colleges (Ofsted) identified substantial levels of sexual harassment and online sexual abuse for both girls (90%) and boys (nearly 50%). Significantly, this did not always appear to be recognised by the school or college. Sometimes sexual bullying in schools and other social settings can lead to the sexual exploitation of young people by their peers, or young women and young men who have themselves been exploited can be coerced into recruiting other young people to be abused.

The prosecution and disruption of perpetrators is an essential part of the process in reducing harm. It is the responsibility of the police to gather evidence, investigate and interview perpetrators and prepare case files for consideration by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) with the intention of obtaining the successful conviction of offenders.

Many child sexual exploitation cases cross police force boundaries and require cross boundary cooperation and information sharing. This may involve the National Crime Agency's CEOP Command (formerly Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) who can support the police by helping to coordinate cross-boundary or international investigations involving child sex offender networks or in the management of high risk offenders which may involve grooming through chat rooms and social networking sites or involvement with paedophile rings.

7. Supporting Children and Young People out of Child Sexual Exploitation

Practitioners from statutory agencies and voluntary sector organisations together with the child, foster carers, and their family as appropriate, should agree on the services, which should be provided to them and how they will be coordinated. The types of intervention offered should be appropriate to their needs and should take full account of identified risk factors and their individual circumstances. This may include, for example, previous abuse, missing incidents, involvement in gangs and groups and/or child trafficking. Health services provided may include sexual health services and mental health services.

Referrals for support and awareness raising should be made as appropriate and if the child is in agreement, to The Children's Society (County) or NSPCC (City).

For children who are Looked After, concerns raised, and actions planned should be incorporated into the child's Care Plan and Placement Plan and reviewed as part of the Looked After Child Review.

Therapeutic services are available for those children deemed to require this level of support; referrals can be made to The Children's Society (County) or IMARA (City).

Because the effects of child sexual exploitation can last well into adulthood, support may be required over a long period of time. In such circumstances, effective links should be made between children and adult services and statutory and voluntary organisations.

This should be incorporated into the Pathway Plan of children who are Looked After.

8. Identifying and Prosecuting Perpetrators

The police and criminal justice agencies lead on the identification and prosecution of perpetrators. All practitioners, however, have a role in gathering, recording and sharing information with the police and other agencies as appropriate and in agreement with them. The police are developing the management of perpetrators who present and are not prosecuted including the perpetrator matrix score and civil orders.

Practitioners and foster carers should bear in mind that sexual exploitation often does not occur in isolation and has links to other crime types, including:

  • Child trafficking (into, out of and within the UK);
  • Domestic Violence and Abuse;
  • Sexual violence in intimate relationships;
  • Grooming (both online and offline);
  • Abusive images of children and their distribution (organised abuse);
  • Organised sexual abuse of children;
  • Drugs-related offences (dealing, consuming and cultivating);
  • Gang-related activity;
  • Immigration-related offences;
  • Domestic servitude.

Care must be taken to maintain the confidentiality of the actual or alleged perpetrator; this may require confidential slots in CSE Strategy and other meetings.

Where an alleged perpetrator is linked to a number of children, a CSE Risk Management meeting may be convened and must be agreed by the CPC CSE – lead.

The meeting will consider the level of risk posed by the adult and the strategies required to address and reduce this. The children about whom there are concerns will be identified and decisions made regarding the need to convene individual CSE Strategy meetings.

The MASE meeting will consider named adults / alleged perpetrators and the police action required to investigate and reduce the risk they pose to children.

When alleged perpetrators are arrested and charged with offences against children, allocated practitioners and foster carers should ensure the children are supported through the prosecution process and beyond. Specialist agencies should be involved in supporting the child, as required. This may include using special measures to protect them when giving evidence in court for example. Independent Sexual Violence Advisers or specialist voluntary sector services, if available, may also have an important role to play.

10. Further Information

What to do if You're Worried a Child is being abused: advice for Practitioners guidance to help practitioners identify the signs of child abuse and neglect and understand what action to take.

Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse

Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy (GOV.UK)

Barnardo's - Child Sexual Exploitation - resources and research on Child Sexual Exploitation.

National Crime Agency - Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation: Progress Report - gives an update on action the government is taking to deal with child sexual exploitation.

Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation: A Resource Pack for Councils  - includes case studies.

Information on child sexual exploitation from the College of Policing

Child Sexual Exploitation - The Children's Commissioner

Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) for the 21st Century, Brook, PSHE Association and Sex Education Forum, 2014