Get Help

Advice for CSE victims

If you are under 18 and you think you are the victim of child sexual exploitation, you can get help.

If you are ever in immediate danger, call 999.

If you are not in immediate danger you can contact:



Police on 101

What is CSE?

Child sexual exploitation is a form of child abuse and it is illegal.

It’s when someone under the age of 18 engages in sexual activity as a result of receiving something such as food, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, accommodation, drugs, money, or affection.

It can happen to boys as well as girls, from any background, of any ethnicity and anywhere in the world.

It can happen through direct contact and through technology such as mobile phones and the internet.

What are the warning signs of sexual exploitation?
These can include, but are not limited to, one or a number of the following:

  • Acting secretively
  • Having mood swings or changes in behaviour or emotional wellbeing
  • They’re absent or truant from school or show a lack of interest or sudden poor performance
  • Going missing or regularly coming home late
  • Coming home with unexplained or new possessions
  • Drug or alcohol misuse
  • Becoming suddenly hostile or estranged from their family or friends
  • Dramatic changes to their appearance, maybe wearing inappropriate clothing
  • They’re seen getting into or out of vehicles with unknown adults
  • They become involved in petty crime such as shoplifting or stealing
  • They have more than one or share their boyfriend or girlfriend
  • They become sexually active, pregnant or seeking an abortion or treatment for sexual diseases
  • They’re getting phone calls and/or text messages from unknown adults
  • They have unexplained injuries consistent with sexual or physical assault
  • They self-harm or are having suicidal thoughts or tendencies
  • They’re behaving inappropriately, being over-familiar with strangers, sending sexual images via the internet or mobile phones

Spot the Signs – Barnardo’s leaflet for parents and carers

What can I do to help someone at risk?

  • As a parent talk to your children and young people about what makes a healthy relationship and help them make decisions about what’s right for them.  Read more at Disrespect Nobody.
  • Don’t judge your child/pupil/brother/sister/friend, listen, support and help.
  • Be aware of the warning signs that someone may be experiencing sexual exploitation.
  • Find out more about child sexual exploitation. There is lots of information available from Barnardo’s and the NSPCC plus links to further support here.
  • There’s also plenty of advice about staying safe online from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre which has also developed Think U Know for 11-13s and 14+
  • Tell someone about any concerns you might have about children at risk or suspected offenders.

How can I report my concerns?
In an emergency, if a child is in immediate danger, always call 999. Otherwise, you can call police on 101.  For further advice and support, and to report concerns, you can also speak with the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.

I’m a parent, should I be concerned about my children?
We are providing this information to help raise awareness of the issues of child sexual exploitation. We hope that by doing so it will help people spot the signs and encourage them to seek support and advice for any concerns they may have.

There is nothing to suggest there is an increased risk of child sexual exploitation in our communities and nothing that should cause you to be alarmed or change the way you go about your day-to-day life.

All we would ask you to do is to remain vigilant and keep an eye out for the signs of child sexual exploitation.

Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation (PACE) has a parents forum and further advice and guidance.