Child sexual exploitation

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is when children and young people are groomed or taken advantage of by perpetrators who have a sexual motive.

North Yorkshire Police takes reports of CSE extremely seriously, and has a dedicated team working to tackle it.

If you think a child is in immediate danger of exploitation, you should call 999. You can report any other information on 101. People who work for partner agencies can also use the 'Partnership information form' on the right-hand side of this page.

If you want to talk to someone in complete confidence, call ChildLine on 0800 1111.

It's not OK

Sexual abuse or sexual exploitation is NEVER ok. Are you concerned about a child or young person? Find out more about the It's not OK campaign.


Child sexual exploitation - the facts

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a form of child abuse and both boys and girls can be victims.

CSE involves an imbalance of power. Older people may contact children/young people and befriend them, this may start of as a friendship with the offender showing the child/young person lots of attention, inviting them to parties and giving them presents such as alcohol, drugs, clothes, phones and gifts. The child/young person may be pressured into performing sexual acts on the offender and/or their friends. Young people may believe they are consenting to this however this is not voluntary or true consent and they face huge risks to their physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing.

There are three main types of CSE:

  • Inappropriate relationships - There is often a significant age gap between the offender and victim where there is an unsuitable power or control over the victim. Child/Young Person may believe they are in a loving relationship.
  • "Boyfriend Model" - Offender befriends and grooms the young person/child. The victim then believes they are in a relationship with the perpetrator who then convinces or forces the victim to engage in sexual activities with others.
  • Organised sexual exploitation - A child/young person has been befriended and groomed, they are then forced into sexual activities with multiple males. This can be referred to as "sex parties" where drugs and alcohol will be present. Young people are also used by perpetrators to recruit other children/young people into the network.

CSE can take place online - a young person may be encouraged to share sexual photos through their webcams or chat applications via social media websites. This type of exploitation can also be done through the use of tablets and smartphones. Once these photos have been shared, the child will have lost all control over the pictures. Perpetrators will use this power to control the child into performing sexual acts, if they do not, they will threaten the victim that they will share the photos with family/friends.

There is no stereotypical victim of child sexual exploitation but there are signs in a child's/young persons behaviour that may indicate that they are at risk of CSE.

Signs to look out for

  • Regularly missing from home?
  • Are they self-harming?
  • Are they misusing alcohol or drugs?
  • Have they been picked up at school or home by someone older that you don't know?
  • Are they associating with other young people who are already known to be vulnerable or involved in exploitation?
  • Do they have more then one phone and are they using their phone secretively?
  • Has the young person received any unexplained gifts or money?
  • Do they have significantly older friends?
  • Is there a change in their appearance?

And what makes a child more at risk?

  • If they come from a chaotic or dysfunctional household
  • A lack of friends in the same age group
  • Confused about their sexuality
  • History of domestic abuse or neglect
  • Learning disabilities
  • Have come into contact with other exploited youngsters, e.g at school
  • Have suffered a recent bereavement or loss
  • Are homeless or living in residential care, a hostel or bed and breakfast
  • Have low self-esteem or confidence
  • Young carer
  • Live in a gang neighbourhood

Case studies

Jessica's story

Rebecca's story

Simon's story

News articles

Sex offender Martin Kidd jailed for grooming young girls

Other resources

Useful resources can be found at:


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