What is Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)?

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. (Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015)

Children and young people who become involved face risks to their physical, emotional and psychological health and well being. Any young person could become a victim of child sexual exploitation; the crime affects both girls and boys, from any background and of any ethnicity. It is the organised and deliberate exploitation of a child purely for the sexual gratification of adults.

Watch Jay’s Story Here


Click here to access a 10 minute film produced by the Southend LSCB designed to make children and young people aware of the dangers of online grooming, sexual exploitation and sexting.

It features an adolescent boy talking to someone on social media who he believes to be a young girls, but is really a 47 year old man who encourages him to send explicit photos to him. This is based on a true case.

There are three main types of CSE:

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.

‘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. This is sometimes associated with gang activity. Peer exploitation is where young people are forced or coerced into sexual activity by peers and associates. Sometimes this can be associated with gang activity, but not always.

Organised sexual exploitation – young people are passed through networks, possibly over geographical distances, 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. Some of this activity is described as serious organised crime and can involve the organised ‘buying and selling’ of young people by perpetrators.

Know the Signs and Use the CSE Toolkit:

Even something that seems like normal teenage behaviour could be a sign that a child is being sexually exploited. Some of the visible signs that family members or people who know young people might identify are:

  1. Regularly missing from home or school and staying out all night
  2. Change in behaviour – becoming aggressive and disruptive or quiet and withdrawn.
  3. Unexplained gifts or new possessions such as clothes, jewelry, mobile phones or money that can’t be accounted for.
  4. Increase in mobile phone use or secretive use
  5. Appearing to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  6. Being picked up or dropped off in cars by unknown adults
  7. A significantly older ‘boyfriend’ or ‘friend’ or lots of new friends
  8. Spending excessive amount of time online and becoming increasingly secretive about time spent online
  9. Sudden involvement in criminal behaviour or increased offending
  10. Sexual health problems
  11. Members of the public and those in Service industries such as taxi drivers, hoteliers and food outlets might notice signs like being taken into a hotel room by one or more adults who do not seem to be family members
  12. being in a hotel room which is visited or requested by a number of additional adults
  13. going by taxi to a hotel or other venue to meet a group of adults who do not seem to be family members
  14. being out late with older adults who do not seem to be family members
  15. being bought alcoholic drinks by adults
  16. being in the company of adults who are known or suspected of being involved in adult prostitution
  17. being bought food or drinks by a much older adult whom they seem to see as a boyfriend / girlfriend
  18. indications of sexual activity with one or more adult who is significantly older than the young person
  19. indications of sexual activity involving a young person who you know or suspect to be under 16

 The CSE Risk assessment tool has been revised to:

  • reduce duplication to make scoring more accurate;
  • ensure that agencies involved are identified, to improve information sharing;
  • capture the indicators which might be more relevant for males;
  • prompt recording of the rationale and professional judgement / discussion;
  • introduce outcome measures to evidence improvements;
  • be clear about action which would be taken;
  • be clear about whether and when there needs to be further review.

Pan Dorset CSE Screening Tool May 2017

CSE Risk Matrix Guidance June 2017

CSE Risk Assessment Tool March 2018

Pan Dorset CSE Outcome Framework Indicators

Draft Pan Dorset Strategy to address Child Exploitation 2018-2020


CSE Information Sharing

There is a CSE Information Sharing Report Form in Dorset to help professionals share potential CSE information that they encounter. In the past this information may be input onto internal systems and therefore lost, without being effectively actioned or understood.

The purpose of the form is to capture this information from across the Pan-Dorset area and for it to be added to Police systems as appropriate.  The Force Intelligence Bureau can then complete further research, analyse the information and action it accordingly. Accurate and timely information often corroborates other known intelligence, supporting pro-active interventions and disruption.

The form has removed the necessity for practitioners to ‘grade’ the information. This means that all that is requested is for the information to be as accurate and timely as possible, and for the details of the person who provided the information to be included.

Adam Taylor is the trainer from within OP Zeal, please contact him on 01202 220917 / 07825 608687 or at

What to do:

In an emergency or if a crime is ongoing always dial 999.

If you have any concerns that a child you know may be a victim of Child Sexual Exploitation report it to the local authorities.

You can also call or email your local Police Safeguarding Unit to discuss any concerns or questions you have with one of our specialist staff on the contact details below.

Tel: 01202 222229



Other useful information and support:


Resources to Download


AlterEgo’s ‘Chelsea’s Choice’ is an innovative and powerful production 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.

This has been rolled out to professionals in Dorset and is also available to year 8 pupils in Dorset schools.

For more information visit the AlterEgo Website



The drive to reduce child sexual exploitation is coordinated by the Bournemouth and Poole Safeguarding Children Board and the Dorset Safeguarding Children Board and the agencies which form their membership.