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4.3.2 Sexual Exploitation

This chapter is the Brighton and Hove Children’s Services Front Door for Families and Assessment Services ‘Child Sexual Exploitation Handbook’. It helpfully details a number of important information sources, the legislation covering this together with a risk checklist.


DfE, Child Sexual Exploitation: Definition and Guide for Practitioners (2017)

Pan Sussex Child Protection and Safeguarding Procedures Manual, Sexual Exploitation

Children’s Commissioner, ‘Preventing Child Sexual Abuse’ (2017)

College of Policing, ‘Responding to Child Sexual Exploitation’

LGA, Child sexual exploitation: A resource back for councils (2017)

Centre of expertise on child sexual abuse, Key messages from research on child sexual exploitation

Research in Practice, Child sexual exploitation: Practice Tool (2017)

What to do if you're worried a child is being abused


This chapter was updated in November 2018, to reflect Working Together to Safeguard Children (See Section 2, Key Practice Principles).


  1. What Is Child Sexual Exploitation?
  2. Key Practice Principles
  3. Referral Pathway
  4. Case Management and Practice Considerations
  5. Attitudes of Children and Young People
  6. Impact of Sexual Exploitation on Children and Young People
  7. Impact of Child Sexual Exploitation for Families
  8. Prevention
  9. Disrupting Perpetrators
  10. Legislative Framework
  11. Sexual Offences
  12. Other Legislation that May be Used Against Perpetrators
  13. Civil Orders under the Sexual Offences Act 2003
  14. Resources

    Appendix 1: Risk of CSE Indicator Checklist

1. What Is Child Sexual Exploitation?

A Definition

The NWG Network has developed the following definition which is utilised in the UK Government Guidance and Policy.

The 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 performing, and/or others performing on them, sexual activities.

Child sexual exploitation can occur through use of technology without the child’s immediate recognition, for example the persuasion to post sexual images on the internet/mobile phones with no 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 economic or other resources.

The National Working Group for Sexually Exploited Children and Young People, 2008

Some one taking advantage of you sexually, for their own benefit. Through threats, bribes, violence, humiliation, or by telling you that they love you, they will have the power to get you to do sexual things for their own, or other people’s benefit or enjoyment (including: touching or kissing private parts, sex, taking sexual photos.

As defined by the Young Women’s Group, New Horizons: 2008 (the nia project & The Children Society)

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.

As defined in Working Together to Safeguard Children.

Sexual exploitation can take a number of forms and Barnardos (Puppet on a String: The Urgent Need to Cut Children Free from Sexual Exploitation, 2011) has identified 3 models of child sexual exploitation:

  • Abuse Model 1 - Inappropriate relationships:

    Usually involves one abuser who has inappropriate power – physical, emotional or financial – or control over a young person. The young person may believe they have a genuine friendship or loving relationship with their abuser.
  • Abuse Model 2 - Boyfriend:

    Abuser grooms victim by striking up a normal relationship with them, giving them gifts and meeting in cafes / fast food outlets or shopping centres. A seemingly consensual sexual relationships develops but later turns abusive. Victims are required to attend parties and sleep with multiple men and threatened with violence if they try to seek help. They may also be required to introduce their friends as new victim.
  • Abuse Model 3 - Organised exploitation and trafficking:

    Victims are trafficked through criminal networks – often between towns and cities – and forced or coerced into sex with multiple men. They may also be used to recruit new victims. This serious organised activity can involve the buying and selling of young people.

Sexual exploitation can take many forms from seemingly “consensual” relationship where sex is exchanged for attention, affection, accommodation or gifts, to serious organised crime and child trafficking. What marks out exploitation is an imbalance of power within the relationship. The perpetrator always holds some kind of power over the victim, increasing the dependence of the victim as the exploitative relationship develops.

Sexual exploitation involves varying degrees of coercion, intimidation or enticement, including unwanted pressure from their peers to have sex, sexual bullying (including Cyberbullying), and grooming for sexual activity. Technology can also play a part in sexual abuse, for example, through its use to record abuse and sharing via the internet or as a medium to access children and young people in order to groom them.

To effectively reduce the risks of and the incidences of harm to children through sexual exploitation, links must be made across other factors, such as trafficking, missing from home or care, missing from education and online safety. Identifying child sexual exploitation and the types of interventions to reduce harm may be different to these other issues, but should not be seen in isolation from them.

Sexual Exploitation sometimes includes the “movement” of children/young people between houses/premises, hotels, locations, towns or cities. When concerns for such movements arise, there will need to be a response that addresses the issue of internal/domestic trafficking as well as child sexual exploitation. This may include a referral to the UK Human Trafficking Centre.

In addition, links between children/young people missing from care/home and action to safeguard children/young people at risk of harm via sexual exploitation need to be made both at an operational and strategic level. The vulnerability of those missing from home/care to sexual exploitation needs to be understood by those working with children and young people and appropriate responses made to explore potential exploitation.

2. Key Practice Principles

This sets out some key principles which inform effective practice in working with children and young people who are at risk of, or are suffering, sexual exploitation. These include the following:

  • A child centred approach. Action should be focused on the child’s needs, including consideration of children with particular needs or sensitivities, and that children and young people do not always acknowledge what may be an exploitative and/or abusive situation;
  • Taking a proactive approach focused on prevention, early identification and intervention as well as disrupting activity and prosecuting perpetrators;
  • Parenting, family life and services. Taking account of family circumstances in deciding how best to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people;
  • The rights of children and young people. Children and young people are entitled to be safeguarded from sexual exploitation, just as agencies have duties in respect of safeguarding and promoting their welfare;
  • Responsibility for criminal acts. Sexual exploitation of children and young people should not be regarded as criminal behaviour on the part of the child or young person, but as child sexual abuse;
  • Working Together (Contextual Safeguarding) identifies there are, ‘threats to the welfare of children from within their families, children may be vulnerable to abuse or exploitation from outside their families. These extra-familial threats might arise at school and other educational establishments, from within peer groups, or more widely from within the wider community and/or online. These threats can take a variety of different forms and children can be vulnerable to multiple threats, including…..sexual exploitation';
  • A shared responsibility. The need for effective joint working between different agencies and professionals underpinned by a strong commitment from managers, a shared understanding of the problem and effective co-ordination by the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB).

See also: DfE, Child Sexual Exploitation: Definition and Guide for Practitioners (2017).

3. Referral Pathway

Following a referral to Front Door for Families and Assessment Services under Section 17, S.47 of the Children Act 1989, we should ensure that the needs of children and young people who are at risk of being sexually exploited are assessed and that appropriate multi-agency engagement and appropriate interventions are undertaken in line with Working Together, the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families 2013. The duties on LAs under the Children Act 1989 apply to all children and young people aged under 18 years. Children’s Social Care staff should also be alert to the possibility of sexual exploitation of children and young people who are already in receipt of services, particularly those children and young people who are Looked After by a Local Authority.

Information regarding concerns about a child being sexually exploited must be shared with the Police and strategy discussion take place between CPT DS and Front Door for Families and Assessment Services PM.

4. Case Management and Practice Considerations

Children’s Social Care are clear that children who are being or are likely to be sexually exploited are victims of child sexual abuse. In all cases where abuse or neglect is suspected as a result of sexual exploitation, the LSCB’s safeguarding children procedures apply. This chapter should be read in conjunction with Chapter 1 of Working Together), which sets out in detail the processes to be followed when there are concerns about a child’s welfare.

The identification of a child or young person involved in sexual exploitation, or at risk of being drawn into sexual exploitation, should always trigger the agreed local safeguarding children procedures to ensure the child’s safety and welfare, and to enable the Police to gather criminal evidence about the perpetrators.

The earlier that sexual exploitation, or likelihood of it, can be identified, the more opportunities there are to prevent or minimise the harm suffered by a child or young person. Children and young people who are at risk of sexual exploitation or who are being sexually exploited may display highly complex and challenging behaviours. They may appear abusive and anti-social and may become involved in bullying and exploitative activities towards others. These behaviours may mean that professionals can experience difficulty in recognising the young people’s vulnerability and in responding to it. However, it is also important to recognise that some young people who are being sexually exploited do not exhibit any external signs of this abuse.

The fact that a young person is 16 or 17 years old and has reached the legal age of being able to consent to sex should not be taken as a sign that they are no longer at risk of sexual exploitation. These young people are still defined as children under the Children Act 1989 and 2004 respectively. They can still suffer Significant Harm as a result of sexual exploitation and their right to support and protection from harm should not be ignored or de-prioritised by Children’s Social Care because they are over the age of 16, or are no longer in mainstream education or training.

Gaining the child or young person’s trust and confidence is important if she or he is to be safeguarded from harm and enabled to escape from sexual exploitation. Often the process of engaging with children who are being sexually exploited can be difficult and lengthy and it can take time for professionals to build up trust and overcome their resistance to being helped and supported to exit the abusive situation.

The initial consideration of the child’s needs and circumstances should address, on the basis of the available evidence, whether there are concerns about impairment to the child’s health and development, (including actual and/or potential harm), which justifies further enquiries, assessment and/or intervention. If further action is needed, a decision is required on when enquiries and/or intervention should begin and how best to undertake them.

Children and young people who are sexually exploited, or at risk of being sexual exploited, are a particularly vulnerable group of children who may become ‘lost’ to the statutory agencies, whose welfare or need for immediate services may be overlooked and for whom subsequent planning and intervention may be less than satisfactory. Particular care and attention is required, therefore, when assessing the needs of children and young people who are sexually exploited and considering how best to help them, during the Strengthening Families Assessment and subsequent intervention and planning stages.

When a young person is referred to the Service, a sexual exploitation/ strategy meeting should be convened. This should be a multi-agency forum that seeks to:

  • Gather information about the sexual exploitation of that individual young person;
  • Provide a decision making forum regarding the need to initiate s.47 investigation and completion of Strengthening Families Assessment. Threshold of harm to be applied in all cases and active consideration to be given to the need for further safeguarding action to be taken if required;
  • Identify multi-agency support for the young person and their family that will help them to exit from sexual exploitation;
  • Agree a course of action on any offenders identified;
  • Systematically gather information about associations with adult exploiters and young people. This wider strategy enables the Service to cross reference associates and shows links between different groups, both young people and offenders, on a city wide basis;
  • Parents should be invited to attend these meetings except in cases where they are implicated in the sexual exploitation or where there are specific safeguarding concerns that precludes their presence. The Service aims to involve parents as partners with professionals towards the common aim of preventing or stopping the sexual exploitation of young people;
  • Consider raising matter within joint Police/WISE/Social Care Operational fortnightly safeguarding meeting;
  • Consider referring young person to the monthly Vulnerable Young Persons Meeting to assist in formulation of a multi-agency plan of support to address risk and vulnerability.

5. Attitudes of Children and Young People

It is important to recognise that not all children and young people who are sexually exploited will see themselves as victims of sexual abuse; nor will they see their friend, boy/girlfriend or partner as an abuser. This is most likely to be the case for older teenagers. Although faced with limited choice, they may believe themselves to be acting voluntarily and often results in a reluctance to engage with services.

6. Impact of Sexual Exploitation on Children and Young People

Sexual exploitation can have a serious impact on the life of the child or young person as follows:

  • It can lead to difficulties in forming relationships with others;
  • A lack of confidence or self-esteem;
  • Affects their mental and physical health;
  • It can put the young person at increased risk of sexually transmitted infections including HIV, unwanted pregnancy and abortion, as well as long term sexual and reproductive health problems;
  • It can also ultimately impact on their parenting capacity in the future;
  • Where children or young people manage to escape from sexual exploitation they will sometimes feel unable to stay in the area they are from because of the associations it holds for them, leading to family break-down and isolation. 

7. Impact of Child Sexual Exploitation for Families

Sexual exploitation has profound and damaging consequences for families including parents, siblings and extended members with consequences on their health, work life, family cohesion, economic stability and social life. Targeting and grooming of children raises challenges and psychological stressors upon the family as a whole. Sexual exploitation may undermine parent's capacity to respond proactively to the needs of their children. Lack of knowledge about patterns of grooming, impact of exploitation on their children contributes to crises.

Parents are often distraught, traumatised and undergo severe stress. They feel helpless and guilty for not being able to protect their children from sexual predators. They are likely to suffer verbal and physical aggression from the exploited child and threats of violence from the perpetrators. Sexual exploitation of their children also places strain on family relationships. Sexual exploitation of one child in the family places other siblings at significant risk of being groomed and exploited. Siblings can be alienated and faced with bullying as a consequence of the exploitation of one child affecting their self-esteem and outcomes. Parents and siblings suffer serious threats of abuse, intimidation and assault at the hands of perpetrators. Siblings can face instability in their family life and fear for the well being of their sister(s) or brother(s) and the family as a whole.

8. Prevention

By prevention we mean reducing the risk that children and young people will become victims of sexual exploitation by:

  • Reducing their vulnerability;
  • Improving their resilience;
  • Disrupting and preventing the activities of perpetrators;
  • Reducing tolerance of exploitative behaviour;
  • Prosecuting abusers.

The earlier intervention and prevention can be targeted to those at believed to be at risk the better outcomes are likely to be achieved in the long term. The early identification, intervention and prevention of CSE is linked to an overarching strategy to help keep young people safe within Brighton and Hove. There are a number of agencies including those from the voluntary sector who are working to keep children and young people safe (see below) and should be considered for consultation when making assessments and in formulating outcome plans.

WiSE has developed and maintained strong links with services across the city delivering support to young people around Housing, Sex Working, Sexual Health and within the Night- time economy.

The Positive Choices Programme will be delivered in partnership with WiSE, Survivors Network and Rise (Women’s Refuge) and is being supported across the local authority through the Partnership Adviser: Health and Wellbeing who is looking to promote this as part of a whole school approach across Brighton and Hove secondary schools.

Other agencies/forums to be considered when addressing issues of support and prevention:

Brighton and Hove’s Strategy regarding the Prevention of CSE:

  • WiSE steering group adopted as a sub-group of Brighton and Hove LSCB with excellent multi-agency membership which is now chaired by Sussex Police;
  • Referral pathway embedded amongst professionals including connection with SARC, health, social care partner agencies;
  • Adoption of CSE screening tool;
  • Missing Persons Panel changed to Vulnerable Young People’s Panel to reflect inclusive of missing children and CSE;
  • Information-sharing protocol with Sussex Police developed fortnightly meetings with Front Door for Families and Assessment Services and Police with WiSE;
  • Police Missing Persons lead has CSE formally recognised and integrated into their role;
  • Marker put on Police reports to ensure that any information where CSE is mentioned gets sent to the Child Protection Team – (process tested via mystery shopper and verified as working accurately);
  • Citywide training of professionals being included within Brighton and Hove Children’s Workforce development and LSCB Multi-Agency Training Programme;
  • Increased numbers of young people supported to reduce risk taking behaviours, minimise harm and exit sexually exploitative relationships;
  • Changes to PSHE curriculum in schools to include CSE;
  • Development of a whole schools training package with WiSE, Survivors Network and RiSE;
  • Close working links with the National Working Group, Office of Children’s Commissioner and University of Bedfordshire (academic lead for CSE in country);
  • Young people’s participation in the development of posters, leaflets and DV.

Established cross border relations with neighbouring LSCB’s.

9. Disrupting Perpetrators

Disrupting perpetrator behaviours should be viewed as an important part of local work to tackle child sexual exploitation. Whilst there should always be a proactive investigation aiming for successful prosecutions, a disruption plan targeting suspected perpetrators can be extremely beneficial. A disruption plan might involve a number of activities, ranging from simple observation of an individual’s activities, to the use of a range of civil orders including Sexual Harm Prevention Order and Sexual Risk Orders, depending on the type of behaviour and evidence available. Other types of legislation, such as anti-social behaviour injunctions, restraining orders or child abduction notices (see below) can be used to disrupt incidences of sexual exploitation while other measures to safeguard children and young people or gather evidence are taking place. The Licensing Act 2003 can be used to prevent children and young people gaining access to adult venues such as pubs and clubs where they may be especially vulnerable to grooming. Other local statute can be used to disrupt incidences of sexual exploitation. For example, if practitioners are aware of locations where sexual exploitation is taking place, they can use local licensing or housing departments to close down venues.

Criminal Offence of Sexual Communication with a Child: As part of the Serious Crime Act (2015) an offence of sexual communication with a child was introduced. This applies to an adult who communicates with a child and the communication is sexual or if it is intended to elicit from the child a communication which is sexual and the adult reasonably believes the child to be under 16 years of age. The Act also amended the Sex Offences Act 2003 so it is now an offence for an adult to arrange to meet with someone under 16 having communicated with them on just one occasion (previously it was on at least two occasions).

Child Abduction notices under Section 2 of the Child Abduction Act 1984 can be used to disrupt contact between an adult and a child or young person where the child is aged 16 or under. It is an offence for a person not connected to the child to take the child away ‘without legal authority’. In such cases, the Police may remove the child to a place of safety and issue a formal warning to the perpetrator. Although these cases do not require a complaint from the child, it does require the child’s parent or guardian to make a statement. Although not a long-term solution to the problem, Section 2 notices are a useful tool in terms of immediately breaking contact between the child and the individual exploiting them. They are also useful in ensuring that the suspected perpetrator cannot claim they did not know the age of the child. The perpetrator’s details will also be input on to the Police National Computer system.

10. Legislative Framework

The Children Act 1989 imposes a range of responsibilities on local authorities for the care and protection of young people under the age of 18. These include:

Section 17 Every LA has a general duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children within their area who are in need.

A child is defined as being in need if:

  1. He is unlikely to achieve or maintain, or to have the opportunity of achieving or maintaining, a reasonable standard of health or development without the provision for him of services by a local authority;
  2. His health or development is likely to be significantly impaired, or further impaired, without the provision for him of such services; or
  3. He is disabled.

Section 20 - Requires Local Authorities to provide accommodation for any child in need within their area who appears to require it or who has no other suitable accommodation.

Section 31 - A Court may make a Care Order if satisfied a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm and the likelihood of harm is attributable to the care being given to the child not being what would be expected from a reasonable parent.

The Court may make a child the subject of an Emergency Protection Order if it is 44A and 44B satisfied there is reasonable cause to believe that the child is likely to suffer significant harm if the child is not moved to a safe place or does not remain in one. When the Court makes an Emergency Protection Order, it may include exclusion requirements or accept an undertaking from the relevant person.

Section 46 - The Police may take a child into Protective Custody for up to 72 hours if they have reasonable cause to believe s/he would otherwise be likely to suffer significant harm.

Section 47 - Requires that the Local Authority make enquiries where they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer significant harm, to enable them to decide what action they should take to safeguard or promote the child’s welfare.

Section 48 - Enables Courts to provide Local Authorities with powers to locate a Child in need of Protection when making an Emergency Protection Order for a child whose whereabouts are not known.

Section 49 - Makes it an offence to abduct or induce, assist or incite a child to run away whilst in care, the subject of an Emergency Protection Order or in Police custody.

Section 50 - A Court can make a recovery order with respect to children who are abducted or who run away or go missing whilst in care, the subject of an emergency protection order or in Police Protection. A recovery order instructs anyone who knows where a child is to reveal this information or to produce the child if they are in a position to do so. The order also authorises a police officer to search a particular house and a particular person (usually a police officer or social worker) to remove the child.

Under the Protection of Children Act 1978 (as amended), the UK has an absolute prohibition on the taking, making, circulation and possession with a view to distribution of any indecent photograph of a child under 16. This age was raised to 18 in the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 also makes the simple possession of indecent photographs of children an offence.

The Children Act 2004. Local Authorities and the other persons and bodies to which section 11 of the Children Act 2004 applies must make arrangements for ensuring that their functions are discharged having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

Criminal Justice Act 2003 s.327A and 327B (inserted by s.140 Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008): Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme

The Child Sex Offender Review (CSOR) Disclosure Scheme is designed to provide members of the public with a formal mechanism to ask for disclosure about people they are concerned about, who have unsupervised access to children and may therefore pose a risk. This scheme builds on existing, well established third-party disclosures that operate under the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA).

Police will reveal details confidentially to the person most able to protect the child (usually parents, carers or guardians) if they think it is in the child’s interests.

The scheme has been operating in all 43 police areas in England and Wales since 2010. The scheme is managed by the Police and information can only be accessed through direct application to them.

If a disclosure is made, the information must be kept confidential and only used to keep the child in question safe. Legal action may be taken if confidentiality is breached. A disclosure is delivered in person (as opposed to in writing) with the following warning:

  • 'That the information must only be used for the purpose for which it has been shared i.e. in order to safeguard children;
  • The person to whom the disclosure is made will be asked to sign an undertaking that they agree that the information is confidential and they will not disclose this information further;
  • A warning should be given that legal proceedings could result if this confidentiality is breached. This should be explained to the person and they must sign the undertaking’ (Home Office, 2011, p16).

If the person is unwilling to sign the undertaking, the police must consider whether the disclosure should still take place.

Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014:

Sexual Harm Prevention Orders and Sexual Risk Orders - They replace the previous, Risk of Sexual Harm Orders and Foreign Travel Orders which were introduced by the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

The court needs to be satisfied that the order is necessary for protecting the public, or any particular members of the public, from sexual harm from the defendant; or protecting children or vulnerable adults generally, or any particular children or vulnerable adults, from sexual harm from the defendant outside the United Kingdom.

The Orders prohibit the defendant from doing anything described in the order, and can include a prohibition on foreign travel (replacing Foreign Travel Orders which were introduced by the Sexual Offences Act 2003).

Failure to comply with a requirement imposed under an Order is an offence punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment.

Sexual Harm Prevention Orders

Sexual Harm Prevention Orders can be applied to anyone convicted or cautioned of a sexual or violent offence, including where offences are committed overseas. They replace the previous Risk of Sexual Harm Orders.

A prohibition contained in a Sexual Harm Prevention Order has effect for a fixed period, specified in the order, of at least 5 years, or until further order. The Order may specify different periods for different prohibitions.

Sexual Risk Orders

Sexual Risk Orders can be made where a person has done an act of a sexual nature as a result of which there is reasonable cause to believe that it is necessary for such an order to be made, even if they have never been convicted. They replace the previous Risk of Sexual Harm Orders.

A prohibition contained in a Sexual Risk Order has effect for a fixed period, specified in the order, of not less than 2 years, or until further order. The Order may specify different periods for different prohibitions.

11. Sexual Offences

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 introduced a range of offences specifically focused on the protection of children from sexual exploitation. The main offences relating to the exploitation of children are summarized below:

Sections 5 - 8: Cover offences committed against children under 13. For the purposes of these offences, whether the child ostensibly consented to the act is irrelevant as is the defendant’s belief as to the child’s age.

Sections 9 - 12: Cover offences against children under 16 committed by adults.

The fact that a child gives ostensible consent to such sexual activity is not relevant as sexual activity involving a person under the age of 16 is unlawful regardless of such consent. Where there is no ostensible consent, the conduct will fall under the (non child-specific) non-consensual offences in sections 1 - 4 of the Act, which include rape.

Section 13: Covers child sex offences committed by children or young persons: this offence covers any of the offences covered by sections 9 to 12 where they are committed by someone under 18.

Section 14: Provides an offence of arranging or facilitating commission of a child sex offence. The offence being arranged or facilitated may take place anywhere in the world for the purposes of this offence.

Section 15: Provides an offence of meeting a child following sexual grooming. The original version of section 15 made it an offence for a person aged 18 or over to meet intentionally, or to travel with the intention of meeting, a child under the age of 16 in any part of the world, if he has met or communicated with that child on at least two prior occasions, and intends to commit a “relevant offence” against that child either at the time of the meeting or on a subsequent occasion.

Section 72 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 extended the offence to where the person arranges to meet the child in any part of the world or where the child travels with the intention of meeting the defendant in any part of the world. This addition strengthens the offence of meeting a child following sexual grooming.

Sections 16 - 19: Cover sexual offences against children under 18 where the offender has abused a position of trust. Roles which constitute a position of trust are set out in section 21. Positions of trust include, for example, employment in a residential home or detention centre or in an educational establishment.

Sections 25 - 26: Provide offences for engaging in or inciting sexual activity with a child family member.

Sections 47 - 50: Provide a set of offences specifically dealing with the exploitation of children through prostitution and pornography which provide protection for all children up to the age of 18.

Sections 57 - 59: Provide the offences relating to the trafficking of people into, outside and within the UK for the purposes of certain sexual offences.

Section 33A of the Sexual Offences Act 1956 makes it an offence to keep a brothel used for prostitution. The maximum penalty upon conviction was raised to seven years imprisonment under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

Section 1 of the Protection of Children Act 1978 makes it an offence to take, make, distribute or show indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children.

Section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 makes it an offence to possess indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children.

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 extended the meaning of ‘child’ for the purposes of these two provisions to children aged under 18 (rather than 16).

12. Other Legislation that May be Used Against Perpetrators

13. Civil Orders under the Sexual Offences Act 2003

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 provided a number of orders, but these have been superseded by the Anti Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

The aim of these orders is to protect the public or specific members of the public from sexual harm. The Police will need to provide evidence of a risk of sexual harm before an order can be imposed. A Sexual Harm Prevention Order can be imposed by a court on an offender who has been convicted of a relevant sexual or violent offence (these offences are listed in Schedule 3 and Schedule 5 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 where the Court is satisfied that the order is necessary for the purpose of protecting the public or particular members of the public from serious sexual harm. The order can be made at the time of conviction or after conviction, provided that there is a present risk of the offender causing serious sexual harm. This order automatically makes an offender subject to the notification requirements (commonly known as the sex offender’s register) in the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

A Sexual Risk Order can be imposed on an offender who has demonstrated behaviour that suggests he may be at risk of committing a sexual offence against children where the court is satisfied that the order is necessary to protect children from harm to the defendant. There have to be at least two specified incidents of concern, but there does not need to be a previous conviction. The acts which would qualify an offender for such an order are set out in the Anti Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and include communicating with a child, where any part of the communication is sexual and engaging in sexual activity with a child.

A Sexual Harm Prevention Order can also be imposed on an offender who is seeking to travel abroad and who has been convicted of a specified sexual offence against a child (as set out in the Anti Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014) where a Court is satisfied that the offender’s behaviour since their conviction makes it necessary for the order to be made for the purpose of protecting children abroad from serious sexual harm from the offender. (This replaces the Foreign Travel Order provided under the Sexual Offences Act 2003).

The order may prevent the offender travelling to a specific country or simply from travelling outside the United Kingdom at all.

A Notification Order can make an offender who has committed a sexual offence abroad subject to the notification requirements that would have applied if he had committed the same offence in the UK.

14. Resources

The Local Government Association has produced a resource to help councils raise awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation in their area. The resource provides ideas and materials including briefings, case studies and training resources that can be adapted to meet local needs. (Local Government Association, 03 July 2013).

Giving Victims a Voice: Joint Report into Sexual Allegations made Against Jimmy Savile (PDF)
Metropolitan Police Service and NSPCC, 2013
Report from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and the NSPCC, detailing the work of Operation Yewtree, the police investigation into allegations of sexual abuse made against Jimmy Savile and others. Key figures include: 600 people came forward with information, 450 relating to Jimmy Savile; 214 criminal offences have been recorded against 28 police forces; of his victims, 73% were children under 18. Key outcomes include: a significant rise in the level of reporting of past sexual abuse of children, increasing awareness about the importance of support for victims, collaboration between charities including NSPCC, NAPAC and CEOP, offering opportunities to develop further understanding and best joint working practices when dealing with victims of child sexual exploitation.

Cutting Them Free: How is the UK Progressing in Protecting its Children from Sexual Exploitation? (PDF).
Barnardo's, 2012
Report setting out the progress of Barnardo's Cut them free campaign and presenting the finding from a survey of their services in the UK. Focuses on what is still needed to protect and support children and young people for sexual exploitation. Outlines progress in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Considers in detail how far the campaign calls have been met in England, following on from Puppet on a string (2011).

Research into Gang Associated Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Violence: Interim Report (PDF) Beckett, H. et al
University of Bedfordshire, 2012
Outlines the progress of research into gang-associated sexual exploitation and sexual violence in England, commissioned by the Office of the Children's Commissioners for England as part of their Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Gangs and Groups. Key interim findings explore: features of sexual violence and exploitation that are unique to, or exacerbated by, the gang environment; gender differences among victims and perpetrators; reasons that gang-associated sexual violence and exploitation are rarely reported.

'I Thought I was the Only One. The Only One in the World': the Office of the Children's Commissioner's Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Gangs and Groups: Interim Report (PDF)
Berelowitz, S. et al
Office Of The Children's Commissioner, 2012
Reports on number of known victims of child sexual exploitation as perpetrated by groups and gangs, based on data submitted from police forces, children's services, health agencies, youth offending teams, and voluntary sector organisations who work with victims. Contains a list of warning signs for professionals, parents, carers, and society in general to identify victims, which includes: children going missing, substance and alcohol misuse, physical injuries, offending, and self-harming.

All of Our Concern: Commercialisation, Sexualisation and Hypermasculinity (PDF)
Family Lives, 2012
Report on the commercialisation and sexualisation of children; discusses the progress made since the publication of the Bailey review (2011) and identifies areas which still require policy makers and parents' attention. Focuses on how boys are affected by commercialisation and sexualisation and how to engage them in preventative strategies. Also examines peer-on-peer sexual exploitation and violence, exploring the consequences of extreme gender identification and hypermasculinity, which is associated with sexual violence against girls. Includes recommendations for parents and policy makers.

Out of place: The Policing and Criminalisation of Sexually Exploited Girls and Young Women (Summary)
Phoenix, J.
Howard Institute for Penal Reform, 2012
Analyses the decision-making processes of police, youth justice and non-statutory specialist sexual exploitation service providers in prosecuting and using criminal justice sanctions against girls and young women in prostitution related offences in England and Wales. Also looks at the experiences of sexually exploited young women and how they are policed. Findings include that England and Wales have tried to adopt a victim-oriented approach but this is undermined by the disjuncture between the law and policy. Emphasises that girls who are sexually exploited must always be treated as victims, never as criminals. Recommends the removal of the legal possibility of prosecuting a child for prostitution-related offences (i.e. age restricting any prostitution related offence to those over the age of sexual consent); and the development of clear guidance from central government to distinguish sexual exploitation from youth prostitution.

Still hidden? Going Missing as an Indicator of Child Sexual Exploitation (PDF) Sharp, N.
Missing People, 2012
Review examining the links between going missing and child sexual exploitation, including: the nature of links between going missing and child sexual exploitation; push and pull factors related to child sexual exploitation; missing from care; trafficking for child sexual exploitation; missing from home; abduction and kidnapping; and the need to go missing to escape from sexual exploitation. Highlights the importance of greater vigilance and more rigorous reporting of 'missing' incidents to protect children from serious exploitation and abuse.

Caught in a Trap: The Impact of Grooming in 2012
Turnbull, M., Davies, R. and Brown, C.
ChildLine: 2012
Reports on children's experiences of sexual grooming in the UK. Looks at the number of contacts received by ChildLine about sexual abuse, the number in which a child specifically described aspects of sexual grooming; and the characteristics of victims of sexual grooming. Looks at the grooming process and the impact it has on the children involved. Includes a number of case studies.

Puppet on a String: The Urgent Need to Cut Children Free from Sexual Exploitation (PDF).
Barnardo's, 2011
Examines what is known about the scale and nature of child sexual exploitation, and provides evidence from Barnardo's services on the developing trends. Considers issues such as child trafficking, internet grooming and peer exploitation. Policy recommendations are focused on England only, but the report draws on experiences in each of the nations to show that this is a UK-wide issue that needs to be taken seriously by governments across the UK. Includes case studies.

Out of mind, Out of Sight: Breaking Down the Barriers to Understanding Child Sexual Exploitation.
Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, 2011
Investigates street grooming and child sexual exploitation, and aimed to establish whether patterns of offending, victimisation or vulnerability could be identified. Refers to 'localised grooming' only and does not include online grooming or trafficking. Provides an outline of trends, themes and patterns based on six months of research. It looks at prevalence, patterns, interventions, and makes recommendations to improve interventions and reduce risk to children in the future. Found that more than 2000 children were victims of child sexual exploitation.

Also available: executive summary (PDF).

Briefing Document: CSE and Youth Offending (PDF)
Cockbain, E. and Brayley, H.
UCL. Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science, 2011
Summarises key findings from research into the association between child sexual exploitation (CSE) and youth offending in Derby. Explores patterns of offending, along with their implications for policy and practice. Found that nearly 40% of CSE victims in Derby were involved in offending behaviour and 70% reoffended. Suggests that youth offending may reduce the likelihood of reporting CSE and affect witnesses' credibility. Concludes that although findings suggest that CSE and youth offending are closely intertwined, the available data did not indicate that CSE routinely causes offending behaviour.

This is it. This is My Life…Female Voice in Violence: Final Report on the Impact of Serious Youth Violence and Criminal Gangs on Women and Girls Across the Country (PDF)
Firmin, C.
Race on the Agenda, 2011
Final report of the Female Voice in Violence (FVV) project which assessed the impact of serious youth violence, gangs and serious group offending on women and girls. Draws on research from interviews and focus groups involving over 300 women, girls and males across four cities in England and highlights that the impact of serious youth and gang related violence (including sexual violence and sexual exploitation) should be recognised as a child protection issue and addressed in policy and practice. Also identifies examples of good practice by voluntary organisations.

What’s Going on to Safeguard Children and Young People from Sexual Exploitation? How Local Partnerships Respond to Child Sexual Exploitation (PDF)
Jago, S. et al
University of Bedfordshire, 2011
A report reviewing the ways Local Safeguarding Children Boards are protecting children and young people from sexual exploitation. Findings include: LSCBs are failing to protect young people and the current thresholds for intervention through child protection procedures are set too high. Recommendations include: review how the court process impacts on young people, and ensure training for professionals working with young people covers the issue of child sexual exploitation.

The Protection of Children Online: A Brief Scoping Review to Identify Vulnerable Groups (PDF)
Munro, E. R.
Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre, 2011
Examines what is known about the protection of children online. Covers a wide variety of issues, including: cyberbullying, sexual solicitation and grooming, and pornography and other harmful content. Outlines recommendations for areas in need of further research, including: factors that make some young people more vulnerable than others; how risk and protective factors influence outcomes; and how services can better protect children from online harm.

Young People and Sexual Exploitation: 'It's Not Hidden, You Just Aren't Looking'.
Pearce, J. J.
Routledge, 2009
Explores the difficulties that arise for researchers and practitioners working with sexually exploited young people. The first part explores the historical context of sexual exploitation, identifying how it arose from child prostitution. It looks more closely at current policy framework within the UK, identifying the range of interventions that can be used to support sexually exploited young people. Considers the needs of trafficked children and young people and addresses the links between sexual exploitation and domestic violence, and working with adolescents in violent relationships. Part two looks at risk factors and resilience in sexually exploited young people, and research and young people's participation in the field of sexual exploitation. Explores the therapeutic needs of sexually exploited children and young people.

Gathering Evidence of the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Young People: A Scoping Exercise (PDF)
Jago, S. and Pearce, J.
University of Bedfordshire, 2008
Reports on a study commissioned by the government to look at the way local partnerships (including Local Safeguarding Children Boards and police forces) tackle the sexual exploitation of children and young people through the disruption and prosecution of offenders. Covers: the multi-agency approach; the foundation for effective evidence gathering; developing a disruption plan; preparing a prosecution case; and awareness raising, training and guidance.

Child Pornography and Sexual Exploitation of Children Online (PDF)
Quayle, E., Loof, L. and Palmer, T.
ECPAT International, (2008)
Examines the potential harms posed to children by new technologies and how to differentiate between sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and commercial sexual exploitation in the online environment. Argues that new media blurs the boundaries between these and provide a context that affords opportunities for both the abuse and the exploitation of children and by children. Considers what is known about adult offending activity online and those who engage in it, and the technologies used.

It's Someone Taking a Part of You: A Study of Young Women and Sexual Exploitation.
Pearce, J., Williams, M. L. and Galvin, C.
National Children's Bureau (NCB), 2002
Based on 55 case studies, conducted in partnership with the NSPCC, considers the choices and opportunities available to young women who are at risk of, or are experiencing, sexual exploitation. Presents young women's accounts of their experiences, identifies three categories of risk: at risk of sexual exploitation; swapping sex for accommodation, money, drugs or other favours 'in kind'; and selling sex, and recommends interventions that could take place at each stage to support the young women concerned. A summary of this report is available.

Appendix 1: Risk of CSE Indicator Checklist

Click here to see Risk of CSE Indicator Checklist.