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New definition of child sexual exploitation

The government has released an updated definition of child sexual exploitation, following a consultation completed last year.

The new, clearer definition will help practitioners across all services understand and be able to recognise when children are in danger of child sexual exploitation. It will also help agenies record, analyse and disrupt incidences.

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.

The revised definition is included in the "Working Together to Safeguard Children" statutory guidance. You should also read the updated guidance for practitioners.

Visit NSPCC for more information about child abuse and neglect. 

PACEY members can access Safeguarding training free of charge.