Child Sexual Abuse & Exploitation

Child Sexual Abuse (CSA)

 The definition given in Working Together 2018 for child sexual abuse is:

‘Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. 

They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse Sexual abuse can take place online, and technology can be used to facilitate offline abuse. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.'


CSA can take many forms including:

  • Abuse by trusted adults (inter and extra familial)
  • Organised and complex abuse
  • Abuse within exploitative personal relationships
  • Abuse by another child or young person



Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

The Department for Education defined CSE in 2017 as:

‘Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse ... 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’

Children and young people, who are being sexually exploited, or may be at risk of this, can come to the attention of any practitioner in any agency.


Child Exploitation


CYSCP provides online and face to face training for practitioners.

Useful documents and websites

CYSCP Guidance on Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation


Child Sexual Abuse & Exploitation Storyboard 

produced by YorOK, CYSCB and City of York Council. 


Read the CYSCP Organised Abuse Procedure






Report on the Impact on Children of online and offline child sexual abuse written by NSPCC, CEOP, University of Bath and University of Birmingham


The Brook Traffic Light Tool supports professionals working with children and young people by helping them to identify and respond appropriately to sexual behaviours.


It's Not Ok digital resources from the NSPCC






CSA Key Messages in Intra-Familial Child Sexual Abuse


CSA Key Messages in Institutional Child Sexual Abuse


The CSA Centre guidance on The Scale and Nature of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation



            May 2019 - advice from the UK Home Office on disruption tactics for those working to safeguard children and young people under the age of 18 from sexual and criminal exploitation.  


Click here for CYSCP Guidance on Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

Read the CYSCP CE screening tool for all practitioners to use

Police Information Sharing Form - use if you have information which may assist the Police

Read the CYSCP Organised Abuse Procedure

Information about the Child Exploitation Trusted Relationships Project and the Delivery Plan.

There is a Child Sexual Abuse & Exploitation Storyboard produced by YorOK, CYSCP and City of York Council.

Government guidance on children using the Internet

DfE Child Sexual Exploitation definition and guidance for practitioners 2017

The CSA Centre updated its guidance on The Scale and Nature of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

It's not Ok

The "It’s not ok" campaign took place during 2015/16 as a joint initiative between CYSCP, NSPCC and York St John University to raise awareness of CSA and CSE across the city with public and professionals. The materials created during the campaign are still used in schools and the campaign was nationally acclaimed.  The It’s Not Ok play and workshop have now been turned into new digital resources for secondary schools, community groups and practitioners. You can find the free resources here: