Document type
Patient information
Hertfordshire and West Essex ICB
Output type
Clinical Pathways

Child Sexual Exploitation

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse. Children in exploitative situations and relationships receive something such as gifts, money or affection as a result of performing sexual activities or others performing sexual activities on them.

Children or young people may be tricked into believing they're in a loving, consensual relationship. They might be invited to parties and given drugs and alcohol. They may also be groomed and exploited online.

Some children and young people are trafficked into or within the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation can also happen to young people in gangs.

There are a number of different forms in which CSE can present itself; these can range from:

  • Internet sexual exploitation
  • Sexual exploitation at house parties and the movement of young people for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
  • Offenders grooming youngsters and using their power to sexually abuse them. 
  • It can take many forms, whether it occurs through a seemingly ‘consensual’ relationship with an older boyfriend, or a young person having sex in return for attention, gifts, alcohol or cigarettes.

Many young people who are being abused do not realise they are at risk and will not call for help. They may see themselves as willing participants when in fact their behaviour is anything but consenting.

The CCG has been working with local health providers to ensure they have processes in place to safeguard children at risk of CSE. Health professionals who provide support for young people have been receiving training to raise awareness and to spot the signs of CSE.

We are increasingly improving our services to help identify children who are at risk of being sexually exploited and we are working together with partner agencies to safeguard and protect these children. 

If you are concerned about CSE for yourself or somebody else please contact the police on the telephone 101 or Children’s Services on 0300 1234043.

For more general information on CSE go to the following links:

Online Safety

Children and young people spend a lot of time online – it can be a great way for them to socialise, explore and have fun.  But children do also face risks like cyber bullying or seeing content that's inappropriate.

The information within the link below can help parents and carers understand what children do online and the risks they face and will help keep children safe online.