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Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)


What Is CSE?

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of child abuse. It happens when a young person is encouraged, or forced, to take part in sexual activity in exchange for something. The reward might be presents, money, alcohol, or simply just the promise of love and affection.

It might seem like a normal friendship or relationship at the beginning, but the young person might be persuaded to do sexual things they don’t want to do in return for something.

Forms of CSE

Online Exploitation – Sexual exploitation can start and stay online. There are people who will use the internet to groom, trawling social media and gaming sites looking for people to target and exploit.

Friends – When an adult befriends and grooms a child into a close relationship. This might be as a boy/girl friend or just a friend. To start with this makes the young person feel good about themselves, they may be given alcohol, gifts and treated like an adult. But the relationship may then become abusive and the child may be forced or manipulated into sexual activity with the adults or their ‘friends’. The child might be told they need to have sex to prove their ‘love’, or told they need to have sex to pay for the gifts, alcohol or drugs they have been given.

Opportunistic – This type of exploitation can happen very quickly, without any grooming. Children who are visibly vulnerable are more likely to be targeted. Children who go missing, are out late at night or go to adult environments, might be at risk. Children can be offered accommodation, money, lifts, drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, etc, in exchange for sexual activity.

Peer Exploitation – This may happen within a group of friends. It can often happen quite publicly and images and videos are often circulated around school and their peers.

Organised Exploitation – This is when networks of offenders work together, to coerce or force children to have sex with multiple adults. This can often happen through organised parties where children are invited to parties and offered drinks, drugs, and lifts for free. The children are introduced to a culture where sexual promiscuity and taking drugs are normalised and expected. Children might be encouraged to bring their friends to these parties.

What Are The Possible Warning Signs?

Sexual exploitation affects thousands of children and young people every year. By knowing the tell-tale signs, we can all play an important role in reducing that number.

Look out for:

  • unexplained gifts
  • changes in mood
  • going missing
  • staying out late
  • being secretive about where they are going
  • lack of interest in activities and hobbies
  • missing school

Reporting Concerns & Getting Support

If something’s not right – please speak to someone. Exploitation is never your fault, even if you went along with things at first. Abusers can be very clever in the way they manipulate young people.

Call police on 101 (always call 999 in an emergency)

More information can also be found on the Warwickshire CSE website.


Safe in Warwickshire’s Cyber Crime Advisors and Prevent Officer deliver the ‘Prevent Online Grooming’ training to parents, carers and youth professionals. This aims to support them in keeping their children and young people safe online. Further information about this training can be found under the ‘Training’ heading on our Prevent page.

Warwickshire CSE‘s team offer FREE CSE training to all education, policing, health, youth & voluntary sector services across Warwickshire, as well as free training for hotels and licensed premises.

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