Spot the Signs of CSE, CCE and Online Grooming

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

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.

Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE)

Another person or persons manipulate, deceive, coerce, or control the person to undertake activity which constitutes a criminal offence where the person is under the age of 18. The victim may have been criminally exploited even if the activity appears consensual (Modern Slavery Act 2015).

Online abuse

Abusers are increasingly using the internet to target vulnerable children. It can happen across any device that's connected to the web, like computers, tablets and mobile phones. And it can happen anywhere online, including:

  • social media
  • text messages and messaging apps
  • emails
  • online chats
  • online gaming
  • live-streaming sites

Children can be at risk of online abuse from people they know or from strangers. It might be part of other abuse which is taking place offline, like bullying or grooming. Or the abuse might only happen online.

Further information about online abuse and support available from the NSPCC.

Spot the Signs of CSE, CCE and Online Grooming

There are a number of signs to look out for if you suspect a young person is being sexually or criminally exploited.

  • Receiving unexplained gifts/items (keep a note of these including times and dates)
  • Poor attendance at school/NEET
  • Concerns of phone use in placement or at school
  • Bullying others
  • Going missing and returning home late
  • Methods of transport used, including being picked up by unknown vehicles/unknown adults, use of taxies alone and use at odd hours, visiting unknown areas both in and out of Rotherham
  • Signs of drug-related debts or drug taking equipment
  • Sexual health issues
  • Returning home with injuries (keep a note of when this happens)
  • Attending A&E
  • Change in presentation, emotional and becoming moody, presenting as unkempt, or out of character dressed up, having new expensive clothing such as expensive trainers
  • Emotional dysregulation, do they appear angry/withdrawn/upset/stressed?
  • Self-harm
  • Increased conflict
  • Having additional phones in their possession
  • Have any concerning conversations been overheard on the phone?
  • Concerns raised by friends, neighbours or the local community
  • Possessing weapons
  • Speaking to others online who are unknown to them and arranging to meet them
  • Expressions around invincibility or not caring about what happens – ‘others have their back’
  • Being secretive about their phone use or having increased contact with others online
  • Getting arrested for crimes
  • Change in mood / appearance / behaviour
  • Becoming withdrawn from social networks and not mixing with their usual friends