Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

Child sexual exploitation is, to a great extent, a hidden problem.

  • Children at risk of sexual exploitation are some of the most vulnerable in our society. Many have experienced abandonment or have suffered from physical and mental abuse. They need help but don’t know where to look.
  • Younger victims are being targeted.
  • Perpetrators of these crimes are becoming increasingly sophisticated, using the internet to protect their identity and trafficking children around the country to avoid detection.  Sometimes young people are involved in the recruitment of other young people.

Child sexual exploitation is when children and young people receive something (such as food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, or money) as a result of performing, and/or others performing on them, sexual activities. Child sexual exploitation can occur through the use of the internet or on mobile phones. In all cases, those exploiting the child or young person have power over them because of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or resources. For victims, the pain of their ordeal and fear that they will not be believed means they are too often scared to come forward.

It is not possible to say exactly how many young people are victims of child sexual exploitation for a number of reasons. It is described as a ‘hidden’ form of abuse which leaves victims confused, frightened and reluctant to make any disclosures. Some young people are not even aware they are experiencing abuse as the perpetrator has manipulated them into believing they are in a loving relationship, or that they are dependent on their abuser for protection.

A UK-wide survey estimated that in 2009-2010, there were over 3,000 young people accessing services because they had been affected by sexual exploitation. In a thematic assessment, CEOP received over 2,000 reports of victims from local authorities and police forces. The Children’s Commissioner’s inquiry in to sexual exploitation by groups and gangs confirmed 2,049 reported victims in the 14 month period from August 2010 to October 2011. Furthermore, the Children’s Commissioner’s inquiry estimated from the evidence that 16,500 children in the UK were at risk of sexual exploitation.

Calderdale’s response to CSE can be found in this document – CSE direct support services.  The development of CSE services in Calderdale can be found in this document – CSE journey

If you have concerns that a young person may be ‘at risk’ of CSE, you will need to complete the West Yorkshire CSE Risk Assessment – Feb 16

Please read the West Yorkshire CSE Risk Assessment Practice Guidance – Feb 2016  and refer to this CSE good practice example which will help you to complete the form.

If you have information that may assist the police, please complete this CSE information report Feb 2016

Download the CSE Advice/Referral Flowchart for professionals Feb 2016 for easy reference.

To request support or for advice and guidance on CSE locally, contact the CSE Hub (e-mail ) , Police Safeguarding Unit 01422 337042, or MAST 01422 393336

More information, research findings and national initiatives can be found on the following websites and links:


Pace –

Children’s Society



Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham (1997 – 2013)

Rotherham MBC Response to the Jay report

Gov.UK Safeguarding children and young people from sexual exploitation: supplementary guidance

CSE step by step guide for practitioners

Frontline Health Staff Pocket Guide

Safeguarding Children in the Digital World

Ofsted has published the report of a thematic inspection to evaluate the effectiveness of local authorities’ current response to child sexual exploitation. Inspectors found that local arrangements to tackle sexual exploitation are often underdeveloped, and leadership is frequently lacking. Some areas have only begun to address the issue strategically within the last 12 months, despite statutory guidance issued more than five years ago.

This briefing will be of interest to Leaders, lead members, and senior officers and all those with responsibility for children’s social care.

CSN Policy Briefing CSE Ofsted Report
This briefing contains a short summary of the Jay report (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham), and focuses more on the reaction to it and the implications for local authorities and their partners. It will be of interest to elected members and officers with responsibility for the broad range of services for children and young people, all of which have a role to play in identifying those at risk of sexual exploitation and in successful approaches to tackling it.

CSN Policy Briefing CSE

Sheffield has conducted an assessment of CSE services in Sheffield – Click on the link to see the Full Report and Executive Summary

The National Working Group have resources relating to CSE that can be accessed by the public. These can be found by following this link:

Click on the following link to see a Summary of Crown Prosecution Service Guidelines on Prosecuting Cases of Child Sexual Abuse, October 2013 relating to cases of Child Sexual Abuse, including Sexual Exploitation: Information for all Practitioners

Follow this link to the report ‘See Me, Hear Me: Framework for Action from the Final Report from the Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Gangs and Groups’

Although aimed at parents, PACE have produced a booklet written in partnership with parents who have experienced the hardship of CSE, Keeping it Together: a parent’s guide to coping with child sexual exploitation provides information and guidance on some of the practical and emotional issues faced when caring for a sexually exploited child on a day-to-day basis.

The booklet explores theories on what happens to the parent-child bond when a child is exploited, and offers strategies used by other parents to maintain some sort of daily routine and care for other non-affected family members.  It provides information on accessing specialist support and explores temporary accommodation options if it becomes unsafe for the child to remain at home.  Drawing on parents’ firsthand experiences, it looks at what parents can do to manage their own health, work life and relationships during periods of extreme stress.

It is a useful resource for both parents and practitioners working to keep children safe from sexual exploitation. You can download it free at

Or to order copies by post, please email

The links between Child Sexual Exploitation and young people who display Sexually Harmful Behaviour is becoming increasingly recognised.  The CSCB has produced Sexually Harmful Behaviour Practice Guidance and Tool to assist practitioners to make appropriate decisions when identifying and working with children and young people who display sexually harmful behaviour.  Download a copy of the tool here.

Sexually Harmful Behaviour Tool for professionals – May 2014

Did you know?

Calderdale Safeguarding Children Board (CSCB) has received national recognition for its work to protect vulnerable children from sexual exploitation, trafficking and going missing.

The Board was highly commended in the Children’s Services category at the MJ Local Government Achievement Awards which was held in London on 18 June 2015.

Richard Burrows, Chair of the Calderdale Safeguarding Children Board said:

“I am delighted that our work has received this accolade – it is recognition of the innovative and determined approach to tackling CSE which has been taken by the Board and our partners to keep children safe in Calderdale.   

“Safeguarding children is everyone’s business.  We’re working with social workers, the Police, health workers, teachers and many others working together so that no vulnerable child is left unprotected.”   

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, Cllr Megan Swift, said:

“This is a great result which acknowledges the work we are doing with children, parents and carers, schools and communities to help them recognise the signs of child sexual exploitation and know what to do if they suspect that something is wrong.”  

A dedicated CSE team has been formed which includes social workers, Police, and members from the NHS, education and the Youth Offending Team. The team meets daily to share information which will identify any vulnerable children and intervene if they are felt to be at risk of harm.

Adults and children across Calderdale are being offered training to ‘know the signs of CSE’, with active members of the community being encouraged to sign up to the sessions.  Theatre productions have been developed for primary and secondary schoolchildren to educate them on the issue.

Calderdale Council has also commissioned the Children’s Society to deliver the ‘Safe Hands’ project.  This provides specialised support for victims of sexual abuse, helping them to move on with their lives.

To make sure you ‘Know the Signs’ visit the West Yorkshire Police website at link).

If you are ever concerned about the welfare of a child call 01422 393336 or 0845 1111137 after 5pm.