LSCBLocal Safeguarding Children Board Northamptonshire

What young people should know about 'Child Sexual Exploitation'

What do you need to know.

Could this be you or a friend?

  • Do you stay out overnight?
  • Have you been missing from home?
  • Do you miss school?
  • Does a grown-up outside your family give you money, clothes, jewellery, a mobile phone or other presents?
  • Do you have an older boyfriend or girlfriend?
  • Do you take drugs or drink alcohol?
  • Are you losing touch with your family or friends?
  • Do you hate yourself sometimes?
  • Are you secretive about where you go and who you see?
  • Do you chat to people on line your have never met?  

If this sounds like your life, or if you are worried about a friend, you or your friend could be at risk of child sexual exploitation by older adults.

Taking risks is part of growing up, but sometimes young people get out of their depth and need some help. 

You have a right to feel safe at all times reach out for help - don’t suffer in silence.

Who should you tell?

Services in Northamptonshire are ready to help - if something is happening to you, say something:

  • tell a friend who you know will tell a teacher or other useful adult

  • tell an adult

  • text or ring 116 000 - it's free, anonymous and open 24/7 - you can get advice or help for you or someone you know

  • ring 101 and report it to the police

  • ring the RISE team on 01604 888345 or email them

So what is Child Sexual Exploitation?

Someone taking advantage of you sexually, for their own benefit. Through threats, bribes, violence, humiliation, or by telling you that they love you, they will have the power to get you to do sexual things for their own, or other people’s benefit or enjoyment (including touching or kissing private parts, sex, taking sexual photos.)

(NWG Network, 2008)

So how does it happen?

We know from experience that some adults draw young people just like you into sexual relationships. They are not really your friends. 
This is how it works:

  • older adults are nice to you
  • they show you a lot of interest and affection at the beginning, and make you feel special
  • sometimes they ask groups of young people to come back to their house with older adults
  • they offer you drugs and alcohol and a place to chill out
  • they may even buy you presents like clothes, a mobile phone, even give you money to buy things like cigarettes
  • when they have gained your trust and affection they may change how they act around you
  • they will ask for sex or sexual touching for themselves or other people, in return for alcohol, drugs, presents, money; all the things they gave you for free a while ago
  • they stop being nice and become threatening and violent

What can I do?


The adults who have taken advantage of you are responsible and they are the people who have done something wrong. They might have told you it is your fault and you will get into trouble but that is just a lie to frighten you.

If you are worried about yourself or another young person you should talk to an adult straight away. In Northamptonshire we have a special team called RISE who are there to help you. All the adults in Northamptonshire who work for schools, health, education and youth groups have received information on child sexual exploitation so they can make sure you get the help you need.

So take that first step and tell an adult or call/text 116 000, the free, anonymous helpline, open 24/7.

More help for you:

Childline ZipIt app:

This app provides witty come backs for young people to use when they are being pressured to take pics or flirting becomes sexting. Helps young people save face and gives them confidence to deal with potential perpetrators. 

Face up to it -

This is an interactive web site aimed at young people age 13+. It has boy stories and girl stories that allow the young person to make choices and see outcomes. There is also a mock up chat room which shows how you cannot always believe that who you are talking to is who they say they are. 

‘Wud U?’ Barnardo’s free app for young people

The app is available to download from the Windows store, the Windows phone store, the Apple store and Google Play. Interactive app that has 3 x boys and 3 x girls stories that help young people understand grooming and CSE. 

Barnardo’s Sexual Exploitation: Sex, Secrets and Lies '

This guide shows the risks young people face and ways of keeping safe. The colourful, easy to read booklet is illustrated and has been designed to be used by young people as well as family members and carers who are concerned about the safety of young people. FREE to download from along with lots of other good resources. 

CEOP – Child Exploitation Online Protection. (Parents/professionals & Young people.) 

Thinkuknow -

Web site with pages for young people in different age groups as well as parents and professionals. There are some fantastic DVD clips for young people that show the dangers of social media, give an understanding of grooming and what is CSE as well as tips to keep safe. There is a place to ask questions and lots of info for parents & young people on how to protect yourself when using smart phones and social media. 

It’s Not Okay -

A website developed by Project Phoenix, a group of agencies who want to help children and young people who could be hurt by CSE.

Last updated: 09 May 2023

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