Listen to these parents who talk about their experience of child sexual exploitation:

Child sexual exploitation is a form of child abuse and is against the law.

The reasons why young people can be vulnerable to sexual exploitation can be due to a number of factors including low self-esteem and a poor self-image.


Vulnerabilities are identified and targeted by the abuser, whether the young person is living with their family, looked after, away from home or they have run away. In a bid to gain their trust, abusers then groom the young person. To find out more about what grooming is, click here.


The people involved in this type of abuse aim to drive a wedge between you and your child, closing down the normal channels of communication and emotional bond between you, so it is very important to recognise the warning signs that your child may be a victim of, or at risk of sexual exploitation.


There are no stereotypical victims of CSE, male and females can be a victim of CSE, but the below warning signs are indications that a child may be being exploited:


Useful links


CSE Myths Buster

CSE can affect young people and families from all kinds backgrounds regardless of social class, ethnicity or location – it is not just something that happens in small communities or in Greater Manchester or Yorkshire


CSE does not just affect young girls, boys can be subject to abuse too


CSE offenders are not from one particular ethnic group -  CSE shows no race bounds


  • Regularly missing from home or school and staying out all night
  • Change in behaviour – becoming aggressive and disruptive or quiet and withdraw
  • Change in physical appearance – new clothes/hair style/more make up as well as cuts and bruising
  • Unexplained gifts or new possessions such as clothes, jewellery, mobile phones or money that can’t be accounted for
  • Increase in mobile phone use or secretive use
  • A significantly older ‘boyfriend’ or ‘friend’ or lots of new friends
  • Spending excessive amounts of time online or on their mobile and becoming increasingly secretive about this activity
  • Sudden involvement in criminal behaviour or increased offending
  • Sexual health problems, repeat sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy or terminations


Technologies such as mobile phones and the internet mean that grooming may occur without the child’s permission or without the child even recognising that they are being exploited; for example through being persuaded to post sexual images over the internet or through mobile phone images.


Watch this NSPCC video to find out more about grooming

Tips to keep your child/young person safe

  • Talk to your child or the child in your care about healthy and risky relationships
  • Encourage your child to tell you which websites they’re using and ask them to show you how they work
  • Teach your child to be very careful to befriend and communicate with only trusted people that they know
  • Assure them that it’s OK to come to you or another trusted adult if they feel threatened by or uncomfortable about something they have seen or done on a social networking site/instant messaging service