Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
What is child sexual exploitation?
CSE is Child Sexual Exploitation. In very basic terms, it involves a victim being targeted and groomed by adults, with the intention of sexually assaulting and/or raping them.
The children are targeted because they are vulnerable; due to their age.
Grooming can take place in many forms - both 'on line' in social media chat rooms, via mobile phones or in person. The child will not always realise they are being groomed.
Often the grooming starts with friendship or a relationship, where the offender may supply gifts such as clothes, money, mobile phones, which may progress to the supply of alcohol and drugs.
Sometimes the children are given lifts and transported around. The offender will usually encourage the child to distance themselves further from their usual family and friends. Soon into this friendship/relationship, sexual assaults and rapes may occur upon the child.
The offenders are very organised and deliberate in their actions, in some cases working together within a group. They are predatory sex offenders, targeting specifically vulnerable children.
How can we educate young people about the dangers?
A great deal of work has been ongoing to make young people aware of the dangers of Child Sexual Exploitation. This includes regular work from partner organisations within schools to make pupils aware of this offence and how to identify it. There have also been a number of educational events which specialist officers have attended. This preventative work compliments the proactive operations, resulting in significant custodial sentences.
How can people recognise where sexual exploitation is taking place?
We offer literature and information via our websites to highlight the signs of Child Sexual Exploitation and how to get help.
For instance, some offenders may use gifts to encourage young people to engage with them and is one of a number of indicators.
There will be acute cases of children subject to ongoing abuse and those children whose lifestyle and association means they are at risk of sexual exploitation.
Does technology make this offence more difficult to identify?
Although technology enables such offences to take place online through chat rooms and other mediums, it also leaves offenders open to being caught. We monitor these sites and where there is evidence of Child Sexual Exploitation, we can take action by seizing equipment such as computers and mobile phones. These strengthen the weight of evidence against the offenders.
From a preventative perspective, we also have nationally trained officers who work in schools to alert them to the online dangers and how to recognise the potential for grooming.
Know the Signs
Even something that seems like normal teenage behaviour could be a sign that a child is being sexually exploited. Some of the visible signs include:
- Regularly missing from home or school and staying out all night
- Change in behaviour – becoming aggressive and disruptive or quiet and withdrawn.
- Unexplained gifts or new possessions such as clothes, jewellery, mobile phones or money that can’t be accounted for.
- Increase in mobile phone use or secretive use
- Appearing to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Being picked up or dropped off in cars by unknown adults
- A significantly older ‘boyfriend’ or ‘friend’ or lots of new friends
- Spending excessive amount of time online and becoming increasingly secretive about time spent online
- Sudden involvement in criminal behaviour or increased offending
- Sexual health problems
If you have any concerns that a child you know may be a victim of Child Sexual Exploitation report it to West Yorkshire Police by calling 101 or you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111
For more general information and links, see our personal safety section http://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/help-advice/crime-prevention/personal-safety
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