Home > Staying safe > Personal safety > Child Sexual Exploitation

Child Sexual Exploitation

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a form of child abuse where children in exploitative situations and relationships receive something such as gifts, money, drugs, status or affection as a result of performing sexual activities, or others performing sexual activities on them.

It is a hidden crime and young people often trust their abuser and believe they are in a loving, consensual relationship, when in fact they are being exploited for sexual gratification. They find it very hard to accept that they are a victim of a very serious crime and may be unwilling to report offences or cooperate with the police.

Children and young people may also depend on their abuser or be too scared to tell anyone what’s happening. It can involve violent, humiliating and degrading sexual assaults.

It can also happen online, there doesn’t have to be any physical contact for a young person to be exploited.

For example a young person may be asked to:

  • Send or post sexually explicit photos of themselves
  • Take part in sexual activities via a webcam or smartphone
  • Have sexual conversations by text or online

Abusers may threaten to send images, video or copies of conversations to the young person’s friends and family unless they take part in other sexual activity.
Images or videos may continue to be shared long after the sexual abuse has stopped.

It may also be carried out by family members, friends or people in a position of trust.

We work with lots of different agencies to help prevent and detect CSE and child abuse 

They include children’s charity the NSPCC who have produced a range of resources to help you discuss online safety and sexual abuse  with your children.

We also work with local councils and other agencies and are part of the North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Board and City of York Safeguarding Children Board.

Nationally we work with the National Crime Agency and their Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre. Their Think u Know campaign includes packages for parents and professionals to help educate children of the dangers posed online.

We’ve also launched our own campaign called #keepittoyourselfie to help children think before they post information online.

Follow this link to find out how to spot the signs

Kayleigh’s Love Story

This powerful film called “Kayleigh’s Love Story” is a true story about the events that led to the rape and murder of 15-year-old Kayleigh Haywood from Leicestershire. Please watch it with your teenagers and help them understand the dangers of talking to strangers online.

Please note that the film would be certified 15 if shown in a cinema.


To report a crime, please call the police on 101. In an emergency, always call 999.


A guide for people who work with children and teenagers[pdf] A guide for people who work[pdf] Partnership Information Sharing Form[docx] NPCC issue poster to help tackle child sexual abuse and exploitation during COVID-19[pdf]