What is Child Sexual Exploitation? 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. Department for Education, 2017
Educating children and young people
Although there is not as yet any proven blueprint for the most effective means of communicating messages around child sexual exploitation to children and young people, the evidence base highlights some important principles:
The need for early and continuous education: We are increasingly learning about cases of child sexual exploitation that involve younger children, particularly in the online sphere. If children and young people are not educated about the risk of child sexual exploitation (and other forms of sexual abuse) before perpetrators approach them, they are left unprotected. Schools may want to consider how to build in effective, age-appropriate education, which sensitively supports younger children on these issues and which forms part of a planned programme of study across key stages. This should be accompanied by wider resilience-building work.
Use all potential avenues of communication: Schools, colleges and other educational settings have a critical role to play. Personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) lessons are an obvious route for educating children and young people about the risks of child sexual exploitation and other forms of harm, as are pastoral services and school nurse services. Consideration should also be given to how messages can be delivered outside mainstream education, for example, in youth clubs, community settings or the family home.
Adopt a holistic approach: Risk of child sexual exploitation should be addressed as part of a wider programme of work on sexuality and sexual development, choice and consent, healthy relationships, harmful social norms and abusive behaviours and online safety. This should build on existing initiatives (around online safety for example) and ensure messages dovetail across these different programmes of work. Educative work should engage both boys and girls and should address both risk of perpetration and risk of victimisation (and the potential for overlap).
Contextual considerations: Messages around child sexual exploitation should be delivered within a safe non-judgmental environment, by credible individuals who are confident discussing the issues and able to challenge unhelpful perceptions. Where specific vulnerabilities are identified (going missing, gang-association or drug/alcohol misuse, for example) more targeted educative work should be undertaken, while taking care to avoid stigmatisation or labelling. Accessible and appropriate support should be immediately available should any issues of concern be identified during education activity.
Leeds Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB)
Leeds Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) is a statutory body established under the Children Act 2004. It is independently chaired and consists of senior representatives of all the principal agencies and organisations working together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people in the city.Its statutory objectives are to:
- Co-ordinate local work undertaken by all agencies and individuals to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people.
- Ensure the effectiveness of that work
The LSCB website offers a wealth of information to both young people, families and practitioners including the most up to date protocols for dealing with CSE. To access their website please click here https://www.leedslscb.org.uk/
LSCB - CSE Protocols
Teaching Resources - There is a wide range of resources aimed at children and young people in both primary and secondary school looking at issues such as healthy relationships, consent, internet safety and CSE Foll a full list of resources click here