Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

This definition of child sexual abuse is provided by the joint Safeguarding board of Nottinghamshire and Nottingham City: 

"Sexual exploitation of children and young people under 18 involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people (or a third person or persons) receive “something” (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of them performing and/or another or others performing on them, sexual activities. This can occur through the use of technology without the child’s immediate recognition; for example being persuaded to post sexual images on the internet/mobile phones without immediate payment or gain. In all cases, those exploiting the child/young person have power over them by virtue of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or other economic or other resources. Violence, coercion and intimidation are common, involvement in exploitative relationships being characterised in the main by the child or young person’s limited availability of choice resulting from their social/economic and/or emotional vulnerability.”

The emotional vulnerability of adopted young people and the difficulties with peer relationships, together with possible experience of sexual abuse, may make adopted young people particularly vulnerable.

Where you have any concerns regarding CSE, it is important to share them with Children’s Social Care. In these cases it may be helpful to talk to Adoption Support initially (0115 8044500) or to contact your local safeguarding hub. 

Should these concerns arise out of working hours, your local authority will have emergency numbers you can call or you may choose to call the police.

Further Support and Information can be found at:

  • PACE ( Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation) has a training programme for parents
  • Protect and Respect is an NSPCC organisation for young people aged 11 to 19 who’ve been sexually exploited. It’s offered on 2 levels depending on the needs of the young person.
  • PACE Online Course - this short (20-30 min) online course has been provided by PACE and Safeguarding Children e-Academy to help parents and professionals learn ways to protect children from CSE. 
  • Children & Young People Sexual Assault Service - The EMCYPSAS is a support service for anyone in the East Midlands under 18 who has been sexually assaulted. They offer therapeutic support, medical examination and follow-up care. 
  • The Underwear Rule - The NSPCC has pulled together resources and guides to help children understand the boundaries around their bodies.
  • Local Resources - There may be more resources and services in your local area. Visit our Local Resources page for more information.

Caring for a sexually abused child

Sexual abuse is a childhood trauma and as such it may be useful to look at the materials in Therapeutic Parenting.

Children can recover from trauma in the course of "normal development" when four conditions are present:

  • Physical and emotional safety and stability in their home and social environment
  • A supportive network of safe, sensitive and appropriate adult relationships
  • The ability and opportunity to express what has happened
  • Personal resilience

If children lack one or more of these conditions, they may become stuck in their development and recovery.

It is important provide a consistent and predictable pattern for each day but also some choices and sense of control – giving children two good choices can be very helpful here.

Protect your child too from experiences, situations and people that make them feel unsafe and watch out for signs of re-enactment (such as avoidance, e.g. daydreaming, being withdrawn) and physiological hyper-reactivity (such as anxiety, sleep problems, behavioural impulsivity.) Try to be tolerant of these behaviours and comfort children.

Talk with the child as the more the child knows about how the adult world works the easier it is to make sense of it. Tell the child the truth even when this is emotionally difficult.

It is important to be nurturing but be sure this is in an appropriate context. Respond to the child’s appropriate requests for physical closeness but be aware that saying to a child ‘Give me a kiss’ may reinforce feelings of powerlessness associated with the original abuse.

Encourage resilience by supporting your child at school and with friendships and interests. Help them develop positive values and problem solving skills.

Parents Speak Out

Key points in this report include:

  • Parents often are the first to know something is wrong
  • Parents need educating about CSE
  • Parental/child relationship is crucial to safeguarding, they can be inventive, energetic and proactive
  • Parental longevity of knowledge of the child is important
  • Parents have information they can share with the police
  • The quality of support from agencies is key as parents can't do it all alone.
  • Professionals need to value positive potential of parents, listen, understand and respect, not judging.
  • Contact between parents and children in case should be promoted, supported and empowered unless a good reason not to
  • Parents should be positively encouraged to attend strategy meetings
  • Young people over 16yrs still need protection
  • Be wary of young people manipulated by groomers to distance themselves from their parents or make allegations against them
  • Be mindful of high risk of harassment or risk from child's abusers to the family