In 2016/17, Childline delivered 2,132 counselling sessions about child sexual exploitation (CSE) online, which includes online grooming, online sexual harassment and engaging in sexually explicit activity online.
Inspired by the recent CSE Awareness Day 2018, we released a series of video briefings from our CEO Jim Gamble QPM, to raise awareness about Child Sexual Exploitation. Read on and watch the videos below to gain a better understanding of what to look for, if you think a child is a victim of CSE.
Introduction to CSE
When we are talking about Child Sexual Eploitation, let’s be clear; we are talking about child abuse.
Predators will groom and flatter a vulnerable young person. They may shower them with compliments or gifts or extend the hand of friendship – the greatest gift of all. Predators will then indoctrinate a child and manipulate them into behaving in a way that goes against their character or nature.
Seen, heard & helped
The best way to support children is to make sure that they are seen, heard and helped. When you see them, take note of what’s happening and when you talk to them, listen to what they are actually telling you. If you see or hear something that worries you, do the right thing and escalate it to the appropriate safeguarding professionals.
Friendship & adult engagement
CSE can happen to any child or young person of any gender or from any background. Consider a child’s friendship circles when looking for signs of possible child sexual exploitation.
Alcohol or drugs
Alcohol and drugs can play a part in a child being vulnerable to CSE. If a child is reliant on alcohol or drugs, ask yourself; ‘What has accelerated this push towards a reliance on alcohol or drugs?’
Watch out for changes in a child’s mood or demeanour. If a child that skips across the road one day and is then dragging their feet as if the weight of the world is on their shoulders the next day, this may be a cause for concern.
Do you understand what is normal and what is not with a child or young person’s use of technology? Do you understand the role that technology can play in CSE? If a child produces new technology, such as a new phone or device and you don’t know where they have got it from, this may also be a cause for concern.
If a child goes missing from home or school, it is important that it is reported immediately and not ignored.
Doing nothing is not an option. Keep your eyes open and make sure our children are seen, heard and helped. If you think a child is a victim of CSE, do the right thing and report it.