4.1 Safeguarding from Sexual Exploitation
This chapter was updated in October 2015, when links to the MKSCB CSE Strategy and Action Plan and Guidance for Professionals were added (see above).
Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where 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.
Sexual abuse involves the exploitation of both girls and boys under the age of 18 and the children involved are victims of abuse. Children do not make 'informed' choices to enter or remain in sexual exploitation, but may do so from coercion, enticement, manipulation or desperation.
2. Legal Position
Girls and boys under the age of 16 cannot lawfully (though may in practice) consent to sexual intercourse. Anyone engaging in sexual activity (as defined in The Sexual Offences Act 2003) with a child under the age of 16 is committing an offence. Children under 13 years of age are presumed to be incapable of consent to sexual activity and specific offences, including rape, exist for child victims under this age.
Enforcement of relevant law should be applied to abusers and coercers.
'The Sexual Offences Act 2003 (as amended by the Serious Crime Act 2015) made it a serious criminal offence to:
3. Aim of Intervention
The aims of intervention by agencies are to:
A child or young person who has been sexually exploited is the victim of abuse, and as such her/his needs will require careful assessment.
All agencies should establish whether those who are known to be involved in the sexual exploitation of children are themselves parents or carers. If this is the case an assessment of the needs of those children should be considered, including whether they are suffering or likely to suffer, Significant Harm.
Workers should use this version of the child exploitation indicator tool to help them in their decision making when they have concerns about a child being exploited. This revised version of the child exploitation indicator tool replaces the previous ‘child sexual exploitation (CSE) tool’. Please delete from your systems any old copies you may have of the CSE Toolkit and use the child exploitation indicator instead.