Child Sexual Exploitation

Think, spot and speak out against abuse

Together, we can stop Child Sexual Exploitation




We are committed to helping safeguard our children by encouraging residents to spot the signs and highlight the fact that CSE can, and does happen in West Sussex.

Child Sexual Exploitation (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.

Key Facts:

  • Everyone has a role to play in raising awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation
  • The safeguarding of children is everybody’s business
  • Any child can be sexually exploited no matter what culture, ethnicity, religion, whether a boy or a girl from any background

To show our commitment to stop CSE in West Sussex, we have launched our own countywide campaign to make people aware of the issue, so be sure to keep checking back to this site as we develop our resources.

The campaign aims to target three main audiences, young people, parents and carers and professionals and one of our key pieces of work is a written promise for young people, signed by West Sussex County Council, the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, and the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board. The promise, which sets out what support and respect young people can expect in the county, has been shared with a wide range of stakeholders including district and borough councils and MPs and can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

Spot the Signs:

  • Out of education
  • Signs of physical harm
  • Change in usual behaviour
  • Missing for periods of time
  • Unexplained gifts/possessions
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections
  • Drug & alcohol misuse

Other continuing work to tackle CSE in the county includes supporting the Sussex Police campaign; delivering focused training to professionals to spot the signs and use the screening tools available; and launching a range of blogs and materials around healthy relationships aimed at young people.

West Sussex Child Sexual Exploitation Promise

Young People

Young People

If you're a young person who is concerned that you might be involved in an unhealthy relationship/sexual exploitation or you’re worried about a friend, then visit our Your Space page which tells you everything you need to know about Child Sexual Exploitation, including:

  • An explanation of what Child Sexual Exploitation is;
  • How it happens;
  • Spot the warning signs;
  • How to get help.

 For confidential support and advice:

  • Call the Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency
  • Text or call the National CSE helpline anonymously on 116 000
  • Call the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub on 01403 229900
  • Boys and Young Men’s Online Support 07921 372896

The West Sussex Child Sexual Exploitation Promise

Our promise to young people in West Sussex who have any involvement in CSE. We promise to:

Focus on you, listen, be honest and upfront, be trustworthy, respect your opinion. You can also download a copy of the promise here.

Young People debate Healthy Relationships

Last year we worked with The Towers Convent School and St Philip Howard Catholic School to get young people's views on healthy relationships, online safety and consent.

If you want to know more about their thoughts on the topics discussed then visit the Your Space West Sussex blog to watch the videos and find out how your school can get involved.

Parents & Carers

Parents & Carers

What is Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)?

Child sexual exploitation is a form of abuse.

It involves children and young people being forced or manipulated into sexual activity in exchange for something; money, gifts, accommodation or less tangible goods such as affection or status. The sexual activity and exchange may be seen as consensual, but are based on an imbalance of power.

It can also occur through the use of technology without the child’s immediate recognition; for example, being persuaded to post sexual images on the internet. Rewards or gifts for such images can be hidden in online games such as getting to the next level, in game ‘gold/coins’ or points being exchanged.

There are different models of Child Sexual Exploitation; below are three of the main ones:

  1. Inappropriate relationship: the child/young person is in a relationship with an older partner who exerts a great deal of influence and control over them.
  2. Peer exploitation: the child/young person is in a relationship with another child/young person who is coercing them into sexual activity with their friends.
  3. Organised exploitation: the child/young person is being groomed or sexually exploited by a network of perpetrators and may be coerced into sexual activity with different people.

Our Parents & Carers leaflet (below) has more information regarding signs to look out for, where to get support and much more.

Online Safety

We have put together a short how-to film on online safety. This includes social media privacy settings and parental controls.

If you would like more information about online safety, find our Online Safety Guide at the bottom of this page.

Please use the timings below to skip to a section relevant to yourself:

0:05 - Facebook privacy
0:54 - Twitter privacy
1:21 - Instagram privacy
1:43 - Parental controls via Windows
2:37 - Parental controls via Apple  

Please note: all of the above information was correct as of July 2016. As technology evolves this may differ but we will endeavour to keep this information up to date as much as possible.  

Download our Online Safety guide here:

Online safety guide

Download our Parents & Carers leaflet here: 

Parents & Carers leaflet




Visit the West Sussex Safeguarding Children Board to find out more about your role in helping to stop Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE). The page includes information on:

  • What Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is;
  • Who CSE affects;
  • Signs of CSE;
  • CSE screening tool and risk assessment;
  • Where to get help.

There is also a comprehensive list of online resources available for you if you are working with individuals/groups or schools (including SEN&D schools) which look at social media and sexting as well as videos aimed at young people, boys and young men and children who regularly go missing.

Updated guidance from the Department for Education - 16.02.2017

The Department for Education (DfE) has issued a guide called 'Child sexual exploitation: definition and guide for practitioners'. This is aimed at practitioners, local leaders and decision makers working to protect children from child sexual exploitation. 

The advice is non-statutory, and has been produced to help practitioners, local leaders and decision makers who work with children and families to identify child sexual exploitation and take appropriate action in response. This includes the management, disruption and prosecution of perpetrators.

You can download the full guide HERE.

Resources for healthcare staff

Health Education England (HEE), in association with the Department of Health and NHS England have created a video providing practical advice on what to do if healthcare professionals and others suspect a patient or person in their care is at risk of CSE. You can view the video HERE (15mins long).

Chat Health

Chat Health is the school nurse messaging service run by the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust. The young peoples’ service provides confidential advice and support for 11-19 year olds attending secondary schools across West Sussex. The service is available to discuss any problems that they may be facing such as relationship, mental health, bullying, alcohol & drugs and healthy eating.

If you think this service may benefit any of the young people you work with, the mobile number is 07480 635424.




School packs:

Our schools pack has been designed to assist schools in teaching and raising awareness of child sexual exploitation (CSE). The packs were distributed at the beginning of September 2016 ready to be used in the new school year.

We have worked together with the West Sussex Safeguarding Children’s Board to put together a range of different materials; from a quiz focusing on the legal complications to informing parents of ways to raise the issue with their children.

We hope these resources can be used in several different ways; tutor time, PSHE lessons, assemblies and more. The packs can be adapted by yourselves to best suit your school.

Our packs include:

  • A covering letter and a link to the young person’s quiz
  • A copy of our promise to young people
  • Young people’s awareness poster
  • A booklet aimed at explaining CSE to children with special educational needs
  • A leaflet for Parents & Carers
  • An online safety booklet aimed at parents and carers. We have included 10 copies for distribution in reception areas.
  • We have also created a draft covering letter for you to use/edit as you wish to send to parents and carers (which explains the leaflet and online safety booklet)
  • A leaflet for professionals with a link to the screening tool
  • A Blast booklet for professionals working with boys and young men who are being, or are at risk of being, sexually exploited
  • Information regarding Real Love Rocks and Chelsea’s Choice

If you have any questions regarding the schools packs, please contact

Chelsea's Choice:

Chelsea’s Choice is a play about a girl called Chelsea and how she became a victim of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE).

Delivered by Alter Ego Creative Solutions the play aims to raise awareness around the following issues:

  • Healthy Relationships;
  • Promoting Safe Internet Use;
  • Identifying Risky Situations;
  • The Grooming Process & the differing forms that it can take;
  • Child Sexual Exploitation & the differing forms that it can take;
  • Sign-posting relevant services.

The play ran for seven weeks in 2016 and a further six weeks in 2017. It visited 72 locations in the first year and 54 in 2017 – including different schools, alternative provision colleges and children’s homes. It was watched by more than 20,000 young people, including two individuals who gave us their feedback on the play.

If you're interested in finding out more or want to have Chelsea’s Choice performed at your school then contact the Local Safeguarding Children Board for further details   


Where to get help

If you suspect that a child or young person has been or is being sexually exploited this must be shared with one of the agencies below:

Police: 101 or in an emergency 999

West Sussex Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub, MASH: 01403 229 900

Out of Hours Duty Team: 0330 222 6664

See Something, Say Something national CSE helpline: 116 000 or

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