Child Sexual Exploitation

Following a consultation in 2016 the Department For Education has now issued a new definition of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and a new guide for practitioners.

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.

If you have any concerns about the well-being or safety of any young person or child in our care please contact TWGSB's Safeguarding Officers: Amanda Simpson, Headteacher, or Adam Lewis, Assistant Headteacher (

It can be difficult to recognise the warning signs of child sexual exploitation, as they are similar to the challenges that all parents of adolescent or near-adolescent children face.

The process often involves a stage of ‘grooming’, in which the child might receive something (such as a mobile phone, clothes, drugs or alcohol, attention or affection) prior to, or as a result of, performing sexual activities, or having sexual activities performed on them. Although every case is different, there are different models of grooming.

Child sexual exploitation may occur through the use of technology without the child’s consent or immediate recognition; for example through being persuaded to post sexual images over the internet or via mobile phone.

Child sexual exploitation is often conducted with actual violence or the threat of violence. This may be threats towards the child, or her or his family and may prevent the child from disclosing the abuse, or exiting the cycle of exploitation. Indeed, the child may be so confused by the process, that they do not perceive any abuse at all.

If your child is affected, then it is also important to remember:

  • It’s not your fault. Child sexual exploitation happens to girls and boys from all types of family.
  • You are not alone – many parents have gone through what you are going through and do understand.


PACE (Parents Against Sexual Exploitation) has an extremely informative website where you can find information and support:

How to recognise the signs of sexual exploitation

Support and information for parents

What is trauma bonding

The impact of CSE

The grooming process


'Digital Dangers: the impact of technology on the sexual abuse and exploitation of children and young people' is an online publication produced by Barnardo’s and the Marie Collins Foundation. Barnardo's understands that it can be scary to come forward about child sexual exploitation, and it’s hard to know who to trust. Their expert staff can provide a safe, confidential environment, so victims can get all the help they need.

Barnardo’s is committed to helping young people break away from abuse, so they can look forward to the bright and exciting future they deserve.

In Kent/Surrey/Sussex: Barnardo's B You service specialises in working directly with children and young people up to the age of 18 years old who are at risk of or abused through sexual exploitation in the South East of England.

Other Organisations That Can Help


  • Free, confidential 24-hour helpline that offers support for any kind of problem.
  • Tel: 0800 11 11


  • Child protection helpline gives information, advice and counselling to anyone worried about a child.
  • Tel: 0808 800 5000

Operation Willow

Operation Willow is the name of the Kent and Medway awareness raising campaign around Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE). The campaign links with the nationwide Say Something if You See Something campaign. Operation Willow targets different sectors of the public such as hotels, pubs and taxi firms in an appeal for information on suspicious activities that may be linked to CSE. It also reaches out to the young victims themselves, their friends and family asking for help in bringing this kind of abuse to an end. Say something if you see something.

  • Tel: 101, quote Operation Willow or call the
  • Say Something Helpline anonymously on 116 000

  • If you believe a child is in immediate danger, call the police on 999.
  • If you would like to report any concerns, please contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.