In early 2015 ex-Prime Minister David Cameron called child sexual exploitation (CSE) a “national threat”. Since then the safeguarding community has come a long way. There has been a huge focus on CSE, including a long hard look at the mistakes of the past (and there were many) and a strive to get future prevention right. All safeguarding agencies should now have in place policies, referral pathways and an action plan to deal with and tackle Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE). Most professionals engaged in safeguarding now have a fairly decent understanding of what CSE is and how to identify potential indicators in a child. Nevertheless, we still see significant gaps in knowledge and regularly see examples of children who have obvious and significant CSE indicators fall under the radar. There is also a lot of work to be done with night time economy business, taxi firms, hotels, and the transport system.
We have therefore produced three factsheets where our aim is to approach the subject from a practitioners, carer and parent point of view, for those of us that are ‘on the ground’ dealing daily with children and young people who are being or at risk of being exploited. These factsheets are not about the strategic oversight of CSE, but focus more on practical tools and advice. They are about the social worker who has to assess the CSE risk to a child, a parent or care provider who has to deal with a returning missing child, or a police officer stopping a car at 3am with a heavily made up 14-year old in the company of two 20-year old plus males.