Child sexual exploitation

Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sex abuse. It doesn’t always involve physical contact and can happen through the use of technology, or a combination of both.

It can affect any child or young person under the age of 18, including 16 and 17 year olds who can legally consent to having sex. Sometimes the child or young person involved doesn’t see themselves as being a victim of exploitation.

Child sexual exploitation can take several forms, including:

  • inappropriate relationships where a person has inappropriate power or control over a child or young person due to being physically stronger, older or wealthier. Sometimes the child or young person might believe they are in a loving relationship
  • older adult exploitation where the adult offender may be significantly older and befriends and grooms a child or young person into a ‘relationship’ and forces or coerces them into sexual activity with friends or associates
  • sexual bullying where a child or young person is forced or coerced into sexual activity by peers or associates, sometimes associated with gang activity
  • trafficking where a child or young person is passed through networks of offenders, between towns and cities, and can be forced or coerced into sexual activity with multiple people

If you have any concerns about the welfare or safety of a child or young person, you must report it. It is better to raise your concerns so they can be investigated, rather than failing to tell anyone and a child or young person possibly being exposed to further risk of harm.

To report your concerns when it’s not an emergency, call us on 0800 40 50 40 or text us on 61016. You can also call your local police on 101, visit your nearest police station or speak to a police officer or police community support officer in person.


Please be ready to give as many details as you can, including:

  • The name of the child or young person you are calling about
  • Where they live or go to school
  • Why you have concerns about them

You can also report any concerns to your local council’s children’s services department. You will be able to find contact details on your council’s website. Find your local council.

Talking to your child about healthy relationships

The Disrespect Nobody campaign aims to educate young people aged between 12 and 18 about healthy relationships. You may have seen the TV adverts.

The website provides information about what makes a healthy relationship and covers issues including sexting, relationship abuse, consent, rape and pornography.

Contact Us

To report a crime or incident, call

0800 40 50 40

or text 61016

In an emergency call 999

More information and support:




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