Today [18 March 2021] is National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day and it aims to highlight the issues surrounding Child Exploitation. By doing this, it is encouraging victims to come forward, but also raising awareness for everyone to be aware of the signs of Child Sexual Exploitation.

Child Sexual Exploitation, known as CSE, is a form of sexual abuse that involves the manipulation and/or coercion of young people under the age of 18 into sexual activity. This can by done in many ways and a few prime examples we are aware of are the young victims being given things like gifts, drugs, money, alcohol and affection in exchange for performing sexual activities.

For a long period of time, victims may trust their abuser and not actually understand that they are being abused. These victims are tricked by their abusers into believing they are in a loving and consensual relationship.

CSE can happen both online or in person.

CSE online is where the young victim is persuaded or forced to send sexually explicit images of themselves, or film sexual activities or have sexual conversations with their abusers.

In events where CSE happens in person, we understand that this might happen by the young victim being invited to parties or gatherings with others their own age or adults. At these parties they are given drugs and/or alcohol and may be assaulted and sexually abused by not one individual but by multiple perpetrators.

On occasions, the abuse the young victims experience may not always be affectionate, but could be violent, humiliating, and degrading.

Signs of CSE may be difficult to spot, and the NSPCC say that the signs can sometimes be mistaken for “normal” teenage behaviour. The NSPCC go on to say some signs of sexual abuse and grooming are:

  • Unhealthy or inappropriate sexual behaviour

  • Being frightened of some people, places, or situations

  • Being secretive

  • Sharpe changes in mood or character

  • Having money or things they cannot or will not explain

  • Physical signs of abuse, like bruises or bleeding in their genital or anal area

  • Alcohol or drug misuse

  • Staying out late or overnight

  • Sexually transmitted infections

  • Having a new group of friends or hanging out with older people, other vulnerable people or antisocial groups or being involved in gangs

  • Pregnancy

  • Involved in criminal activities like selling drugs or shoplifting

  • Having an older boyfriend or girlfriend

Here at Farleys we have assisted and continue to represent many victims of Child Sexual Exploitation in successfully bringing claims. We have worked with victims of the Rochdale, Derby, Oxford and Rotherham grooming gangs, as well as other historical abuse survivors.

Year on year we are seeing an increase in numbers of people coming to us to report cases of abuse and child sexual exploitation.

Whilst we realise that compensation will never rectify past events, pursuing a claim can often help to ensure that our Clients finally bring a sense of closure to their ordeals and provide valuable resources to fund their medical treatment going forward.

If you or someone you know has been or is a victim of Child Sexual Exploitation, we appreciate that it is often difficult to talk about what has happened, however or team is experienced and dedicated to speak with you in the strictest of confidence. Call our dedicated abuse line on 0330 134 6430 or contact us by email.