Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and Child Criminal Exploitation (CSE)
We recognise both CSE and CCE are forms of abuse. They both occur where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance in power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child into sexual or criminal activity, in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or for the financial advantage or increased threat of violence. CSE and CCE can affect children, both male and female and can include children who have been moved for the purpose of exploitation.
We know that different forms of harm often overlap, and that perpetrators may subject children and young people to multiple forms of abuse, such as criminal exploitation and sexual exploitation.
In some cases, the exploitation or abuse will be in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or will be to the financial benefit or other advantage, such as increased status, of the perpetrator or facilitator.
Children can be exploited by adult males or females, as individuals or in groups. They may also be exploited by other children, who themselves may be experiencing exploitation – where this is the case, it is important that the child perpetrator is also recognised as a victim.
Whilst the age of the child may be a contributing factor for an imbalance of power, there are a range of other factors that could make a child more vulnerable to exploitation, including, sexual identity, cognitive ability, learning difficulties, communication ability, physical strength, status, and access to economic or other resources.
Some of the following can be indicators of both child criminal and sexual exploitation where children:
- appear with unexplained gifts, money or new possessions;
- associate with other children involved in exploitation;
- suffer from changes in emotional well-being;
- misuse drugs and alcohol;
- go missing for periods of time or regularly come home late; and
- regularly miss school or education or do not take part in education.
We will provide additional support to children who have been exploited to help maintain them in education.
Staff understand that the experience of girls who are criminally exploited can be very different to that of boys. The indicators may not be the same, they are aware that girls are at risk of criminal exploitation too. It is also important to note that both boys and girls being criminally exploited may be at higher risk of sexual exploitation.
If we feel that children may be being abused through exploitation, we will consult in the normal way with the relevant local authority social care team to seek advice through consultation. In Telford & Wrekin we will consider whether the incident follows a CE care and support Pathway. The concerns will be followed through sensitively and appropriately with fellow professionals and the CE referral form will be completed. In relation to the CATE Risk Panels, where concerns are expressed around a child attending our setting, we will ensure attendance whenever possible as part of the established multi-agency process. Alongside this, we have taken the same steps and made all staff aware of the TWSP, A guide for professionals CATE leaflet. Due to the high number of reports in our borough, we will be particularly alert to CSE and CCE.
We will make parents and carers, children and young people aware of the relevant TWSP CATE leaflets. We will provide them with information on CEOP, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command. Children and adults can use CEOP to report if they are concerned that a child is being sexually abused or groomed online.
We will take a proactive approach to minimising the risk of all types of exploitation. We will engage with lived experience work from the St. Giles Trust and other partners to benefit the whole-school/college community, including staff, children and parents. All staff will receive training and updates on child exploitation.
As a primary school/junior school/secondary school/college/training provider our curriculum includes a programme of appropriate exploitation awareness, especially CSE raising awareness.
The Headteacher/Principal and DSL will exchange any relevant information with local partners in relation to exploitation as required to enable all professionals to react, monitor and protect children. As a primary school, the DSL or deputy DSL attend a termly exploitation briefing with the police and Telford and Wrekin Council. As a secondary school training provider the CSE lead attends the CSE lead network each half term.
The DSL will work with one of their deputies/CSE lead to focus on child exploitation, especially CSE and provide any required information to partners. The CSE lead will be known to parents and children. We will ensure the CSE lead is accessible to children.
We record all concerns about a child’s welfare, including those relating to exploitation, especially CSE. We detail what the concerns are, what action was taken and what follow up is needed. The DSL will review all recorded safeguarding concerns, especially those pertaining CCE and CSE, as a minimum every six months to ensure all concerns are routinely recorded and shared with partner agencies.
We will carry out an annual review to consider the adequacy of our site security provision, including monitoring and recording any unauthorised access to our site, to ensure that our pupils are protected from potential perpetrators of child exploitation, especially CSE while at school/college. Any concerns will be shared as required with the police and/or Family Connect. Our site security audit findings will be used to update and review our site security risk assessment.
We act in the spirit of the recommendations pertaining to schools and colleges from the published report of the Independent Inquiry Telford Child Sexual Exploitation, published July 2022.
We will use the Telford & Wrekin Partnership Threshold Guidance, Child Exploitation Risk Threshold Indicator to identify the care and support needs of children involved in exploitation. Where vulnerable care and support needs are identified as ‘vulnerable,’ we will consult with the CATE Team, Telford and Wrekin Council. Where care and support needs are identified as ‘complex’ or ‘acute,’ we will refer to Family Connect. We will complete the West Mercia Police Protected Partner Intel form to share any relevant exploitation intelligence, this will be emailed to email@example.com. In emergencies we will report information to the police via 999 for non-emergencies we will report information to the police via 101 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE)
Some specific forms of CCE can include children being forced or manipulated into transporting drugs or money through county lines, working in cannabis factories, shoplifting or pickpocketing. They can also be forced or manipulated into committing vehicle crime or threatening/committing serious violence to others.
We recognise that this type of exploitation can trap children as perpetrators can threaten victims (and their families) with violence, or entrap and coerce them into debt. They may be coerced into carrying weapons such as knives or begin to carry a knife for a sense of protection from harm from others. As children involved in criminal exploitation often commit crimes themselves, their vulnerability as victims is not always recognised by adults and professionals, (particularly older children), and they are not treated as victims despite the harm they have experienced. They may still have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears to be something they have agreed or consented to.
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
CSE is a form of child sexual abuse. Sexual abuse may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing, and touching outside clothing. It may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in the production of sexual images, forcing children to look at sexual images or watch sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways or grooming a child in preparation for abuse including via the internet.
CSE can be a one-off occurrence or a series of incidents over time and range from opportunistic to complex organised abuse. It can involve force and/or enticement-based methods of compliance and may, or may not, be accompanied by violence or threats of violence. It may happen without the child’s immediate knowledge e.g., through others sharing videos or images of them on social media.
CSE can affect any child, who has been coerced into engaging in sexual activities. This includes 16- and 17-year-olds who can legally consent to have sex. Some children may not realise they are being exploited e.g., they believe they are in a genuine romantic relationship.
Some additional specific indicators that may be present in CSE are children who:
- have older boyfriends or girlfriends; and
- suffer from sexually transmitted infections, display sexual behaviours beyond expected sexual development or become pregnant.
We will make the following further information on signs of a child’s involvement in sexual exploitation available to staff. Child sexual exploitation: guide for practitioners