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Child Sexual Exploitation

What is Child Sexual Exploitation?

Child Sexual Exploitation is a major Child Protection issue across the UK. Child Sexual Exploitation is when children and young people receive something - food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, or money etc - as an encouragement to perform, or as a result of performing (and/or others performing on them) direct sexual activities. Child Sexual Exploitation can also occur and progress 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 effect and pain of their ordeal and fear that they will not be believed or may be at risk if they tell someone, means they are often too scared to come forward and report or tell what is happening.


Prevalence of Child Sexual Exploitation…

Child Sexual Exploitation is often a hidden issue, and therefore it is difficult to know the true figure of victims. However, it has been estimated that Barnardo’s worked with 1,940 children and young people last year alone, who have been sexually exploited.

The true number of children who are victims of Sexual Exploitation is likely to be much higher due to the reluctance of victims to come forward and disclose. 


Warning Signs and Risk Factors

  • Going missing for periods of time or regularly returning home late
  • Skipping school or being disruptive in class
  • Appearing with unexplained gifts or possessions that cannot be accounted for
  • Experiencing health problems that may indicate a STI.
  • Having mood swings and changes in temperament
  • Using drugs and alcohol
  • Displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviours
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Homelessness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Recent bereavement or loss
  • Children in care
  • Young carers
  • Being female
  • Witnessing domestic violence, and drug or alcohol misuse
  • History of abuse
  • Residing in chaotic or dysfunctional households
  • Low socio-economic status
  • Living in a gang-effected neighbor hood
  • Children or young people who have been trafficked into the country
  • Children at risk of ‘honour’ or forced marriages


Who can you contact for advice?

Mrs R Lightfoot – Designated Senior Person for Child Protection at Brompton Hall School



24 hour helpline for children and young people under 18 providing confidential counselling

0800 1111



Information on a range of subjects relevant for young people and their emotional health and wellbeing

0808 8025544



Information on mental health

030 123 3393


Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre- CEOP



Confidential emotional support for anybody who is in crisis

08457 90 90 90



24 hour child protection helpline

0808 800 5000



The age of consent (the age at which it is legal to have sex) is 16 for everyone in the UK. Under the age of 16 any sort of sexual touching is illegal. 

It is illegal to take, show or distribute indecent photographs of children or to pay or arrange for sexual services from children