Look out for the signs

There are three types of CSE:

  • 1 Inappropriate relationships

    This usually involves one perpetrator who has inappropriate power or control over a young person. There is often a significant age gap and the victim may believe they are in a loving relationship.

  • 2 Boyfriend model

    The perpetrator befriends and grooms the young person into a ‘relationship’ and then convinces or forces them to have sex with friends or associates.

  • 3 Organised sexual exploitations

    Young people are passed through networks where they are forced into sexual activity with multiple men. This often occurs at ‘sex parties’ and the young people may be used to recruit others into the network.

Signs and symptoms

Sexual abuse can be very difficult to identify. Children who have been sexually abused may show a variety of visible signs and symptoms, including:

Child Crying Girl
  • Becoming withdrawn, anxious or clingy.
  • Going missing and/or regularly returning home late.
  • Appearing with unexplained gifts.
  • Depression.
  • Increase in mobile phone use or secretive use.
  • Aggressive behaviour.
  • Obsessive behaviours, eating disorders.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Problems with school work or missing school.
  • A significantly older ‘boyfriend’, ‘girlfriend’ or ‘friend’ or lots of new friends.
  • Risk taking behaviour during adolescence.
  • Being picked up or dropped off in cars by unknown adults.
  • Alcohol and substance misuse.
  • Becoming sexually active at a young age.
  • Promiscuity.