Home Children and Young People How to spot signs of Child Sexual Exploitation

How to spot signs of Child Sexual Exploitation

by Laura Johnston

For National Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Day on 18 March 2017, Knowsley’s multi-agency team – Shield – is raising awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), helping people to understand what it is and know how to raise concern.

Shield, which includes representatives from the council, police and support agencies including Catch 22, works to safeguard children exposed to sexual exploitation, children at risk of criminal exploitation, and prosecute offenders and bring them to justice. They work together to share information and co-ordinate what the most appropriate course of action is for each individual case.  Shield also provides a range of support for children, their families and their carers.

CSE is a form of abuse which is often under-reported as children do not realise they are being exploited and may believe they are willing participants in what they do. CSE can be defined as ‘when you feel like you can’t say no to doing criminal or sexual things.’

CSE involves offenders grooming young people in order to sexually abuse them. Many forms of it can take place including when a young person is persuaded to do sexual favours in exchange for attention or gifts and it can even take place within a ‘consensual’ relationship with an older boyfriend.

There is no stereotypical victim of exploitation but there are warning signs in people’s behaviour that could mean something is wrong.

These are some ways you can know when someone might want to say ‘help me’.
If they:

•        Go missing
•        Don’t go to school
•        Start to look different
•        Use drugs or drink alcohol
•        Have extra money or presents
•        Get into trouble with police
•        Have arguments with family
•        Sleep at different places

If you have concerns about child exploitation, you can report it to Merseyside Police by calling 101. Remember, if it’s an emergency, you should always call 999.

If you are a young person and would like to talk to someone, you can ring Childline on 0800 1111 or visit their website for help.

If you require any guidance, you can contact the Knowsley Shield Team on 0151 443 5028. If you leave a message, someone will always call you back.