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Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

Page last updated: 14/09/2020

Formal definition

In Essex, the definition of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) from the Department of Education has been adopted:

Child Sexual Exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs when 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.

Useful Documents and Resources

Essex Safeguarding Children Board (ESCB)

CSE Champions


Following an ESCB-led review the CSE Champion role now includes all forms of exploitation. Further information and details of how to become a Criminal Exploitation Champion is available on the ESCB website.

  • Department for Education: Guidance for those working to prevent child sexual exploitation
  • Home Office: Guidance about healthy relationships and forms of abuse
  • CSE Toolbox: Resources and guidance about sharing information with the police. Please note that this does not replace the referral process to the Children and Families Hub (FOH) for child protection concerns
  • The Children's Society: Helping children and young people who are victims of sexual exploitation or at risk. Examples include counselling to improve emotional wellbeing and therapeutic group work programmes. Any agency and/or individual working with a child, young person or family can request services
  • Barnardo's: Services for children who have been abused sexually and exploited. Examples include confidential support through counselling, group work, drop-in sessions, and in-school programs
  • Centre of Expertise on child sexual abuse: Reducing the impact of child sexual abuse through prevention and response. Includes a report highlighting parents' needs, system challenges, and example approaches