Child Sexual Exploitation (Professionals)

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What is Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)?

The following definition of CSE is that used in the government guidance ‘Safeguarding Children and Young People from Sexual Exploitation’ (DCSF, 2009, p.9)

Sexual exploitation of children and young people under 18 involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people (or a third person or persons) receive ‘something’ (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of them performing, and/or another or others performing on them, sexual activities. Child sexual exploitation can occur through the use of technology without the child’s immediate recognition; for example being persuaded to post sexual images on the Internet/mobile phones without immediate payment or gain.

 In all cases, those exploiting the child/young person have power over them by virtue of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or economic or other resources. Violence, coercion and intimidation are common, involvement in exploitative relationships being characterised in the main by the child or young person’s limited availability of choice resulting from their social/economic and/or emotional vulnerability.

In safeguarding children, we cannot afford to be complacent – Child Sexual Exploitation is taking place in Harrow.  Anyone in Harrow working with children, young people and vulnerable young adults should know what the signs are, who is more at risk and how to seek appropriate support or make a referral. We now have a FREE E-learning tool to support this awareness raising.

Please email with subject: ‘Access to CSE E-Learning’ and we will be able to send you the login instructions.

CSE Co-ordinator:

Harrow Council employs a dedicated CSE Co-ordinator who advises all agencies on related operational matters and advises the HSCB’s CSE Sub-committee on developments pertinent to its strategic oversight.

Role of CSE Co-ordinator: The CSE Co-ordinator’s role is to provide consultation on complex CSE investigations carried out by social care and the Police and asses cases suitable for MASE.

The CSE Co-ordinator ensures that strategic multi-agency work streams work effectively, in order that intelligence regarding CSE, perpetrator profiles, missing children, gang activity and profiling is gathered, shared and prevention/disruption activity is effectively co-ordinated.

London Child Sexual Exploitation Protocol June 2017

Child Sexual Exploitation Protocol 2015 – Referral Process

SAFEGUARD Risk Assessment Tool

Multi-agency Missing Child Notification Pack – July 2015

Useful Documents and Links:



Access HSCB Multi Agency training on Identifying and Responding to Child Sexual Exploitation here.

Download the CSE Offer in Harrow for young people and their families – March 2016

Download Safeguard CSE Risk Identification Toolkit a useful guide to help you consider possible signs and indicators that a child or young person might be at risk of child sexual exploitation.

Barnardos: Working with children and young people who experience running away and child sexual exploitation: An evidence-based guide for practitioners

Unprotected, Overprotected: meeting the needs of young people with learning disabilities who experience, or are at risk of, sexual exploitation

This exploratory research study aimed to increase understanding of how to meet the needs of children and young people with learning disabilities who experience, or are at risk of, child sexual exploitation (CSE).

At the recent annual conference for NWG Network Emilie Smeaton from Paradigm Research presented on ‘Unprotected, Overprotected; Meeting the Needs of Young People with Learning Disabilities who experience or are at risk of, Child Sexual Exploitation.

Another presentation on ‘Young people with learning disabilities understanding the risk and safety’ was given by Sarah Goff and Anita Franklin

The growing public concern around child sexual exploitation (CSE) has led to a focus on the link between CSE and going missing and this is now beginning to have an impact on policy and practice.

The link between gang involvement and young people going missing from home and/or at risk of CSE has not had the same policy attention.  This report highlights the connection between the two.

Running the Risks – The links between gang involvement and YP going missing:
Download Summary
Download Full Report

What young people affected by sexual exploitation have told us about the support they want from you

10 key facts about child sexual exploitation 

Protecting Children From Harm: A critical assessment of child sexual abuse in the family network in England and priorities for action – November 2015

Download Protecting Children From Harm Full Report

PACE (Parents Against Child sexual Exploitation)                        Download the Parents Speak Out Report 

Child sexual exploitation – can you see it?

This video has been created by a multitude of front line professionals, to help support other professionals working with Young People who are suffering abuse in the form of Peer on Peer Child Sexual Exploitation.

This video aims to educate, inform, support and signpost Professionals toward support available, and also to ensure that all Professionals working with Young People are fully aware of their moral and legal responsibilities, and of their vital duty to ensure the most vulnerable within society are protected.

Reporting concerns

If you or someone you know is affected by child sexual exploitation, your priority should be to get help as soon as you possibly can.

The person concerned may be worried about not being believed, or being judged. It’s important to remember that child sexual exploitation is never their fault, no matter how or why it happened.

Child sexual exploitation is a crime and there are several organisations, including Barnardo’s, that have special, expert services that can help those affected.

Harrow Children Services’ Golden Number is available to everyone, and gives people one number to call for information or advice on services for children, young people and their families.
Golden Number: 020 8901 2690

If you believe a child is in immediate danger, call the police on 999.

Organisations that can help


Barnardo’s provides a range of services to children, young people and families across the UK. Services address problems including sexual exploitation, substance misuse and homelessness,

Visit the Barnardo’s CSE website


Free, confidential 24-hour helpline that offers support for any kind of problem.

Tel: 0800 11 11

Visit the Childline website


Child protection helpline gives information, advice and counselling to anyone worried about a child.

Tel: 0808 800 5000

Visit the NSPCC CSE website

‘Chelsea’s Choice’ Theatre Production in Harrow

For two weeks in December, the HSCB organised for the theatre production of ‘Chelsea’s Choice’ to visit high schools in Harrow, both colleges, the youth development team and also they ran 2 workshops with staff from across Harrow. Over 2,700 young people watched the performances, 80 staff members in the professionals’ sessions, plus teaching staff on the day and 30 CSE Training champions.  The HSCB is currently collecting feedback from young people who saw the production but the report below was written by Stanmore College and the Harrow Youth Parliament created a short recording gathering feedback from young people who watched the performance. 

At the end of the performance we gave out these CSE safety cards for all those who watched the performance. More can be ordered for free directly from Harrow SCB if you work in Harrow with young people:

What is ‘Chelsea’s Choice’?

Chelsea’s choice is an innovative 35 minute long theatre play highlighting the very serious and emotional issue of child sexual exploitation. The production shows how young people, boys and girls, are groomed by adults for the purposes of sexual exploitation using various methods, ensnaring young people and eventually taking complete control and dominating their whole lives. Students gained a better understanding of the devastating impact that sexual exploitation has on a young person’s life

The drama tells the story of a group of three students who discover the diary of a girl called Chelsea. Chelsea was a young girl who, having fallen out with her friends and family, was approached by a man called Gary. Gary was older, owned a car, had a flat and treated her like an adult. Unfortunately Gary was not what he seemed to be! Chelsea’s story is played out and examined by the three students along with their teacher in an attempt to understand what happened to Chelsea and how it could have been prevented.”

These are the key points that young from Stanmore College drew from the ‘Chelsea’s Choice’ performance:

  • Set your private settings to high on all social media sites.
  • Don’t upload things that make your usual location easily known to all.
  • Xbox – people met playing online games such as Call of Duty have been groomers who use the game as a way to get information about individuals over a long period of time.
  • Sexting can ruin your life – do not share images, sharing images is child porn, it would result in you being added to the record as a sex offender for the rest of your life. If you receive an obscene photograph report it to the police.
  • People you meet who try to befriend you through unusual circumstances may misuse knowledge they have of you for their exploitation. Giving you gifts such as a smart phone (which can be tracked) etc is not always a good thing and can be a warning sign.
  • Usually when a young person is “acting up” it’s a cry for help – something is happening in their lives though occasional acting up is part of growing up.
  • The legal age for consent is 16 but young people are protected up to the age of 18.
  • At a party keep an eye on your drink to ensure no one puts anything in it.
  • If you don’t feel safe where you are, say you need to leave and go.

The most important point for young people is talk to someone, staff at college/school, parents, someone at home, or a helpline such as #SaySomething or the police.

Normal friendships are healthy relationships – you shouldn’t have to change yourself, what you like or be turned against your family or friends.

Don’t be afraid to tell a responsible adult – it’s not your fault even if someone tried to make you believe it is.

You could have heard a pin drop in the Main hall at the College, such was the interest and attention shown by the young students. When it comes to safety and dealing with difficult situations growing up, this was certainly one of the most useful seminars the College has hosted.

Harrow Youth Parliament – Chelsea’s Choice Responses in MP3

Students at Harrow College who also viewed ‘Chelsea’s Choice’ said:

L2 Student comments:
“They need to go to every high school and college”
“Parents need to see this show”
“The actors were really good at telling it as it is for us today”
“I feel sorry for the girl in this story”

L3 Learner comments:
“it was wicked”
“Builds awareness for teenagers, abit younger than us”
“ Good way to learn something through a drama”
“Before hand when we were told we were going to watch a play, we thought it was a joke, however when it came to watching it, everybody’s opinion changed a lot”.
“Afterwards it spiked a big discussion between peers in my group”.

Tutor comments on the performance:
Our students were totally focused on the performance. Actors were very loud in places, but this was necessary to get the point across. Pitched at this age group very well. Liked that there was a discussion and question time after the performance so that students could voice their opinions or concerns.

‘Say Something’ Helpline

The helpline is run by the charity Missing People, in association with the National Working Group Network, and is funded by the Department of Education. Callers will be offered advice and, where appropriate, necessary or requested, access to the police to ensure protection and safeguarding.

Download Briefing for Teachers

Download Briefing for Professionals

Tel: 01332 585371

Short Films for Practice – CSE Research

These 12 films are aimed at anyone who wants to access learning from the latest research on child sexual exploitation (CSE), in a short accessible form.

The films share the findings of a range of studies undertaken by researchers in ‘The International Centre: Researching Child Sexual Exploitation, Violence and Trafficking’ at the University of Bedfordshire, as well as drawing on wider CSE literature.

Most of the films are under two minutes long. They can be watched in the office, shared with colleagues or friends, or used in training contexts.

Each film is accompanied by a short briefing document that outlines the evidence in more detail, with references and links to the original research, and questions for reflection. Here is the link;

Operation MakeSafe

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is marking National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day by launching a London-wide initiative which calls on local businesses’ to help identify victims of child sexual exploitation (CSE).

Borough police officers and representatives from local councils, the hospitality, transport and licensed premises industries will attend the launch of Operation Makesafe at New Scotland Yard today, Wednesday, 18 March.

Video: Can You Stop It?

Under Operation Makesafe, a police CSE awareness raising campaign, the police have produced an 18 minute video called ‘Can you Stop it?’ which focuses on perpetrators of CSE and how to identify them. The DVD’s message is: you’re not going to help the victim unless you have an understanding of the perpetrator’s behaviour

Impact of Technology on the Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Young People

Barnardo’s and the Marie Collins Foundation have published a report examining the impact of technology on the sexual abuse and exploitation of young people. Findings include: the internet has given perpetrators greater access to potential victims. Young people believe that due to anonymity they are protected online and therefore take more risks and are less inhibited. All children are at risk of online harm, even those without any vulnerabilities commonly associated with the risk of sexual exploitation such as being in care.

Source: Barnardo’s 05 November 2015

Further information:
Digital dangers: the impact of technology on the sexual abuse and exploitation of children and young people (PDF)

Protecting children from harm: A critical assessment of child sexual abuse in the family network in England and priorities for action

This report outlines the findings of the first phase of the Children’s Commissioner for England’s Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in the Family Environment. In this phase of the Inquiry, the Commissioner aimed to assess the scale and nature of child sexual abuse in the family environment in England which is currently detected and undetected by statutory agencies.

Download Protecting Children from Harm – Executive Summary

Download Protecting Children from Harm – full Report

Download Protecting Children from Harm – Young People’s Version

Digital Dangers Report – November 2015

The impact of technology on the sexual abuse and exploitation of children and young people.
Download Digital Dangers Report

Helping School Nurses to tackle Child Sexual Exploitation

School Nurse Programme: Support the implementation of the new service office

Child Sexual Exploitation – E-Learning

In safeguarding children, we cannot afford to be complacent – Child Sexual Exploitation is taking place in Harrow.  Anyone in Harrow working with children, young people and vulnerable young adults should know what the signs are, who is more at risk and how to seek appropriate support or make a referral. We now have a FREE E-learning tool to support this awareness raising.

Please email with subject: ‘Access to CSE E-Learning’ and we will be able to send you the login instructions.

Combating CSE: a Free e-Learning resource for health professionals

Abuse such as sexual exploitation, thrives in silence. The more we talk, discuss and question it, the less likely it is to continue. If every healthcare professional uses this tool, and applies the learning in their work we will be one step closer to ensuring that every young person who is being exploited gets the help they need.

Produced by Brook on behalf of the Department of Health. It is designed to equip all those working within health with the knowledge to understand, recognise and respond to CSE.

The tool is available to all NHS staff on the e-LfH platform but because we want as many healthcare professionals to be able to access it here:

This includes everyone from receptionists and healthcare assistants, to GPs, nurses, counsellors, therapists and consultants – all of whom have a role to play in picking up on key warning signs.The tool takes approximately 40 minutes to complete and uses facts, scenarios, videos and assessments to highlight the warning signs and build knowledge and confidence in applying the appropriate safeguarding procedures. Additional reading on the Harrow reporting pathway, the s.a.f.e.g.u.a.r.d. tool, information on MASE and other CSE links ensure the reader understands CSE within the Harrow context.

As  completion of the course is not monitored please ensure that your manager is informed when you have completed the E-learning as this information will be gathered by Harrow Safeguarding Children Board has a responsibility to collate those who are undertaking such learning.

Its Not Okay

It’s not okay for someone to manipulate you into doing sexual things for their own or someone else’s benefit. If you’re under 18, this is called child sexual exploitation and it is against the law.

This website contains information for young people, parents, carers, and professionals. Report child sexual exploitation to the police by dialling 101. If you or a young person you care about is in immediate danger, dial 999.

What to do if you are worried about a child. To discuss concerns or make a referral: