What is CSE?

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a form of sexual abuse that involves the manipulation and/or coercion of young people under the age of 18 into sexual activity.

Children and young people who are Sexual Exploited and /or Trafficked can be heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, they can be female, male or transgender.

However many of those who are victimised may be reluctant to disclose offences or seek support, often due to stigma, prejudice or embarrassment or the fear that they will not be believed. They may see themselves as able to protect themselves but in cases of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) physical stature is irrelevant due to the coercion and manipulation used.

Despite media focus, the majority of those who are victimised are not ‘looked after’ children.

It is estimated that only 20 – 25% of victimised children and young people are ‘looked after’. Children and young people living at home can be just as vulnerable, if not more vulnerable as they may not be known to social services and therefore are less likely to be identified as at risk of Child Sexual Exploitation.

Young people are groomed and sexually exploited in many different forms. This could be online, through street gangs, in religious environments, and by those in positions of authority including celebrity. The common theme in all cases is the imbalance of power and the control exerted on young people by the exploiter / perpetrator.

Those children and young people who are being victimised may appear to be willing accomplices however this should be seen in the context of the controls exerted by the perpetrator and the submission of the child/young person to them.

Evidence shows that Child Sexual Exploitation can and does happen in all parts of our country.

CSE is not restricted to urban areas such as large towns and cities but does in fact happen in rural areas such as villages and coastal areas.

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18 MARCH

NATIONAL CSE AWARENESS DAY

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Child sexual exploitation has many guises