The Home Office have updated the statutory definition for Child Sexual Exploitation following a consultation earlier this year. The Department for Education has also updated Working Together 2015 to reflect the changes to the statutory definition, and have issued a new guide for practitioners which replaces the 2009 guidance ‘Safeguarding children and young people from sexual exploitation’.
The new definition
“Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator.
“The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.”
This guidance is for:
- local authority chief executives
- directors of children’s services
- people leading local safeguarding arrangements
- people who work with children, including in social care, health, early years, education and the police
Section A of the guidance is for everyone whose work brings them into contact with children and families, including those who work in early years, children’s social care, health, education (including schools), the police, adult services and youth offending teams. This section sets out first the background to the nature of child sexual exploitation, followed by a series of guiding principles. It is relevant to those working in the statutory, voluntary or the independent sectors, and applies in relation to all children and young people irrespective of whether they are living at home with their families and carers or away from home.
Section B of the guidance is for those in strategic and management roles who are planning responses to child sexual exploitation within local authorities and other agencies working in partnership. It is relevant for Local Safeguarding Children Boards and any new arrangements required in legislation. However, all practitioners may find this information useful to support effective front-line practice on child sexual exploitation.