Spotting the signs of CSE

Child sexual exploitation happens when a child has been persuaded that sexual activity is a ‘normal’ part of adult life.

Adolescence is a time of experimentation and can be a particularly challenging period for parents and their children. Most parents understand the value of young people learning about themselves through new experiences, but also want to protect their child from harm.

Here are some of the signs, that together could indicate your child might be at risk of being sexually exploited.

  • Frequently going missing from home or school
  • New friends or relationships that are the central focus of the child’s life
  • Being secretive
  • Physical signs of abuse
  • Changes in behaviour such as increased anxiety or distress
  • unexplained absences from home or school
  • Anxiety or urgency around mobile phone use
  • Unexplained money, phone or clothes etc
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Unexplained injuries or marks

Exploiters of child sexual exploitation are both skilled and strategic; they aim to drive a wedge between parents and their child, closing down the normal channels of communication and breaking the emotional bond.

If you have concerns

If you are worried about a child exhibiting any of these signs, talk through your concerns with our trained parent support workers or visit our advice centre for information.