Child Sexual Exploitation

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. Department of Education, 2017 Definition of Child Sexual Exploitation.

Child Sexual Exploitation:

  • can affect any child or young person (male or female) under the age of 18 years, including 16 and 17 year olds who can legally consent to have sex;
  • can still be abuse even if the sexual activity appears consensual;
  • can include both contact (penetrative and non-penetrative acts) and non-contact    sexual activity;
  • can take place in person or via technology, or a combination of both;
  • can involve force and/or enticement-based methods of compliance and may, or may not, be accompanied by violence or threats of violence;
  • may occur without the child or young person’s immediate knowledge (through others copying videos or images they have created and posting on social media, for example);
  • can be perpetrated by individuals or groups, males or females, and children or adults. The abuse can be a one-off occurrence or a series of incidents over time, and range from opportunistic to complex organised abuse; and
  • is typified by some form of power imbalance in favour of those perpetrating the abuse. Whilst age may be the most obvious, this power imbalance can also be due to a range of other factors including gender, sexual identity, cognitive ability, physical strength, status, and access to economic or other resources.


Child Exploitation Risk Identification Tool and Practice Guidance

This tool, along with the practice guidance, will help you decide whether a child or young person may be at risk of sexual exploitation, or more than one form of child exploitation.


CSE Multi agency protocol

Please note that the protocol is currently being updated in line with the Government guidance published in February 2017

CSE Leeds Practice Guidance

This Practice Guidance supports the Multi-agency protocol and provides a background and an understanding of sexual exploitation. It outlines how both girls and boys become involved, how professionals can best engage with them, what action professionals must take to safeguard them and support the prosecution of those who gain from this phenomenon.

Please note that the protocol is currently being updated in line with the Government guidance published in February 2017:

Definition and a guide for practitioners, local leaders and decision makers working to protect children from child sexual exploitation

Annexes to ‘Definition and a guide for practitioners, local leaders and decision makers working to protect children from child sexual exploitation’ 

Centre of expertise on child sexual abuse (CSA Centre)

Research in practice 

CSE risk assessment information form

In Leeds, the West Yorkshire Child Sexual Exploitation Risk Assessment is a Children’s Services assessment tool. The Risk Assessment is embedded in the Children’s Social Work Services database. A child’s social worker completes the Risk Assessment either when a new referral concerning a child at risk of CSE is received, or when there are concerns for a child who already has an allocated social worker.  Voluntary CSE special agencies utilise the risk assessment as a referral form.

The West Yorkshire Child Sexual Exploitation Risk Assessment should complement and be developed alongside any other plan for the young person’s welfare in line with local LSCP Procedures.

CSE process for managing a concern

Children at risk of sexual exploitation;

A flowchart which illustrates the process of managing a concern.

CSE WY Police information report form

The WY Police CSE information report form is used to share any information that you may have which could to help identify possible perpetrators of Child Sexual Exploitation or children at risk of sexual exploitation. The form requires you to identify where the information has been obtained and  to include as much detail as possible, for instance any information that you can provide relating to  names, descriptions, nicknames, vehicle details, and addresses is helpful.

We all have a role to play in attempting to understand the issues relating to CSE are in our local area; sharing  information which could be pertinent is therefore vital. If you have any information, not matter how insignificant it may feel to you, don’t sit on it, share it.

All completed forms should be sent to WYP:

One Minute Guide

In-house delivery of CSE training


Multi-agency CSE training