Parents and children urged to spot signs of sexual exploitation

Experts are urging parents and adults to be aware of child sexual exploitation (CSE) and learn how to spot the signs.

Live updates

Prosecutors: 'All child exploitation allegations will be taken seriously'

Police have outlined their commitment to successfully prosecuting offenders of child sexual exploitation.

It comes after a week long conference on the subject, aiming to raise awareness of CSE among professionals working with children.

“Child Sexual Exploitation robs children of their innocence and can have a devastating impact on their lives.

"The CPS, along with the police and other agencies, is wholly committed to tackling the perpetrators and bringing them to justice.

"Wherever there is evidence of child sexual exploitation, we will seek to prosecute those responsible using all the available evidence to build strong cases against them."

– Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West

Cumbrian children can help 'protect themselves against sexual exploitation'

Children and young people in Cumbria are being urged to take steps to help protect themselves against child sexual exploitation (CSE).

A conference is taking place today to raise awareness of CSE among professionals working with children.

Children and young people are being urged to report any concerns they may have to the police or someone they trust, if they think there is a chance themselves or a friend is being exploited.

For example, this could be a young person having sex in return for attention, gifts, alcohol or cigarettes.

Although the young person may not realise it at the time, sexual exploitation can cause a lot of damage to their physical, emotional and psychological health.

Young people are also being warned of the dangers of ‘sexting’ as images can end up anywhere.

“CSE is often seen as being an inner city issue unfortunately sadly we know this is not the case and this is recognised by Sue Berelowitz the Deputy Children’s Commissioner for England who quoted that 'CSE is prevalent in every area of England, and is not restricted to just low income, inner city neighbourhoods, but in every type of neighbourhood, rural, urban, deprived and not deprived'.

“In short all agencies, professionals, carers and communities have a responsibility to work together to ensure that children and young people in Cumbria are protected from being sexually exploited.”

– Iain McKay, Service Manager for NSPCC


Cumbrian parents given online safety tips

Parents in Cumbria are being given tips to help keep their children safe online. It is part if a week long drive to help parents spot the signs of sexual exploitation.

Tips for online safety:

  • Talk to your child regularly about their experiences, both online and offline
  • Know what connects to the internet and how
  • Set boundaries. Treat the online world as you would the ‘real’ world
  • Stay up-to-date. Ask about your child’s new gadgets, apps and websites

Cumbrian parents given tips to spot signs of sexual exploitation

Parents in Cumbria are being urged to learn how to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation (CSE).

A conference will take place on Thursday to raise awareness of CSE among professionals working with children as well as providing key information and advice to members of the public.

"Most sexually exploited children live at home when the abuse starts, but according to a recent YouGov survey only half of parents say they are confident that they would be able to tell the difference between indicators of CSE and challenging teenage behaviour.

Engaged and informed parents are essential in tackling this abuse. It is parents and carers who will often be the first to notice the signs and who are in a position to intervene early, gather information and work in partnership with safeguarding professionals to support the child."


Police say increasingly children are on social media sites and applications, often unsupervised and can cause problems like indecent images of children/young people being circulated, to online grooming.

What are the signs you need to know?

  • Repeatedly going missing – particularly overnight
  • Coming home with unaccounted gifts, i.e. clothes, money, food.
  • Excessive and secret use of internet and /or mobile phone
  • Alcohol/Substance misuse/unexplained injuries
  • Losing contact with family and friends of their own age

What makes a child more at risk?

  • If they come from a chaotic or household/history of domestic abuse or neglect
  • A lack of friends in the same age group/low self esteem
  • Confused about sexuality
  • Learning disabilities
  • Have suffered a recent bereavement or loss
Back to top