Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a form of sexual abuse that involves the manipulation and/or coercion of young people under the age of 18 into sexual activity. It can be when a young person is used to being made or tricked into doing something sexual sometimes receiving something in return like love, affection, money, drugs or alcohol.
Thursday 18th March is National Child Exploitation Awareness day. CE encompasses sexual and criminal exploitation, trafficking, modern slavery and other forms of adolescent vulnerability. The National Working Group (NWG) are continuing to lead the campaign and their five keys messages for CE awareness day 2021 are as follows:
- Exploitation is about more than just CSE, think criminal exploitation, county lines, trafficking and modern slavery
- Families can be safeguarding partners
- Exploitation and its impact doesn’t stop because you turn 18
- The time to build relationships with children and families is crucial
- Communities can tackle exploitation
The NWG are also asking people to write a personal pledge on their hand to show support for their “Helping Hands” campaign, and share on social media using #CEADAY21 & #HelpingHands.
Safeguarding partners across the County are joining together to raise awareness of exploitation
To mark Child Exploitation Awareness Day (18th March) the Essex Safeguarding Children Board, along with partners, will be sharing information with parents and professionals in order to address the changing threat of exploitation.
Since the start of the pandemic, there has been the misconception that children are safer at home. The numbers of children known to be exploited have decreased, but this is likely to be because of under-reporting. Organisations working directly with children locally and nationally believe that exploitation is simply becoming more hidden, taking place in new locations and moving online.
For parents, carers and members of the public, there will be a podcast released on 18th March with a panel of safeguarding experts discussing how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the fight against exploitation. The podcast, along with other resources, will be available on the Child Exploitation webpage.
For professionals, there will be a lunchtime Q&A held on Microsoft Teams with the same panel of experts. Anyone working with children who are interested in attending is encouraged to speak to the safeguarding lead in their organisation for more information.
Help from Essex Child & Family Wellbeing Service
ECFWS can also support you with any concerns you may have about CSE, or any other form of abuse.
We have a large team of skilled 0-19 practitioners, including Health Visitors, School Nurses and Healthy Family Support Workers, who have experience in dealing with all types of abuse, both if you are a victim or a concerned friend or family member.
Please contact us and discuss any concerns you may have, and we will advise you of the best action to take to ensure you or the ones you care for are safe.
Our contact details are here, or feel that you can drop into one of our local Family Hubs or Delivery Sites.
- The Essex Safeguarding Children Board website has lots of advice on where you should go for support and to report an incident.
- More from Essex Safeguarding Children Board on child sexual exploitation >
- How to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation >
- Tips on talking to your children about difficult topics
- Perpetrators of child sexual exploitation (CSE) can be male or female, come from any ethnic background and be any age. They may have a low social and/or economic status or they could be a wealthy individual in a considerable position of authority. The facts about CSE and who the abusers are >