Understanding a bit more about child sexual exploitation (CSE).
Think about your relationships; friendships, boyfriend or girlfriend, or groups of friends that you either know from school, college or the area where you live. As we get older, we develop relationships with lots of different people. Each relationship will be different, some will be healthy and will make you feel good about yourself, whilst others can go wrong along the way and may make you feel uncomfortable, unhappy or scared.
At times, it can be difficult to know who you can trust. Sometimes, people might want to take advantage of you and ask you to do sexual things and you might find yourself in dangerous situations without even realising it... this is called child sexual exploitation (CSE) and it’s not okay for this to happen to a young person. In fact it is abuse and young people have the right to be safe from it.
CSE can happen to anyone, regardless of their gender, age or background, so it’s important that you are aware of the warning signs of CSE, so that you can be careful who you trust, and can recognise if someone is trying to exploit you.
You may have become close friends with someone either from school or your community, or perhaps a person who you have met on line. It is important to think about how they behave and whether they may be trying to gain your trust so they can trick or manipulate you into sexual activity, either with them, or with other people.
They might try to isolate you from your friends, family and support network, so that you are alone and vulnerable. They could force you to do things that you don’t want to do with them, or with other people that they know. They might ask for sexual favours for themselves, and/or other people in return for the gifts they were giving you for nothing before.
There are times when we worry about our friends and what they might be getting involved in. It is important that friends look out for each other as often they can be amongst the first people to notice if something isn’t right. There are some warning signs to look out for in your friends:
If you are worried that you, or someone you know is at immediate risk, the first thing you should do is contact the police on 999. If you have general worries about your own, or somebody else’s situation, call the Safeguarding Hub on 01803 208100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and give as much information as you can.
Reducing Exploitation and Absence from Care or Home (REACH) is a specialist service which supports young people who either run away or who are experiencing or at risk of CSE. The REACH team employs specialist youth workers and social workers who work alongside other professionals providing support, education and guidance.
REACH practitioners work in a range of community settings on a one-to-one basis providing interventions which prevent further abuse and reduce risk. They spend time with young people talking about things that worry them, work at the young person’s pace, recognising that CSE is a difficult subject.
For more guidance and information about who you can talk to, have a look at this leaflet.
This video by the West Yorkshire Police tells one girls story - remember, if you are concerned and would like to speak to someone, you can call ChildLine on 0800 1111 or call/text 116 000.
These pages might also be useful;