What is Child Sexual Exploitation

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is when young people under the age of 18 are encouraged, trapped, forced or coerced into a sexual relationship or situation by an adult. CSE often involves the young person being offered something in return for performing sexual acts, such as alcohol, cigarettes, gifts, money, drugs and affection. The Portsmouth Safeguarding Children website is a good source of information if you are worried about a child or young person Portsmouth Safeguarding Children website.

More information and help can be found on the following websites:

Hampshire Constabulary’s website

Barnardo’s – Support for children and families who have been affected by CSE.

ThinkUKnow – Easy to understand advice on keeping safe for children aged 5-14+.

Internet Watch Foundation – UK internet hotline for anyone to report online child sexual abuse imagery and non-photographic child sexual abuse images anonymously.

NSPCC – Help and advice for adults and children who are concerned about sexual abuse.

Signs of child sexual exploitation can include the child or young person:

  • going missing for periods of time or regularly returning home late
  • skipping school or being disruptive in class
  • appearing with unexplained gifts or possessions that can’t be accounted for
  • experiencing health problems that may indicate a sexually transmitted infection
  • having mood swings and changes in temperament
  • using drugs and/or alcohol
  • displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviour, such as over-familiarity with strangers, dressing in a sexualised manner or sending sexualised images by mobile phone (“sexting”)
  • they may also show signs of unexplained physical harm, such as bruising and cigarette burns

Services in Portsmouth

If you think a child or young person is at risk of sexual exploitation or would like to know more about Child Sexual Exploitation and the support we can offer to young people and professionals please contact: Barnardo’s U-Turn and FCASE (Families and Communities Against Sexual Exploitation)

Tel: 01489796684

There is also a One Minute Guide to CSE on the Portsmouth Safeguarding children website

If you suspect a person of carrying out child sexual exploitation, or think someone you know has been a victim, or may be soon, visit our How to report possible child abuse page or call our non-emergency number, 101. If someone is in immediate danger of harm, please call 999 now.

Other useful links


A national charity helping children in poverty, supporting young carers and helping families looking to foster or adopt.

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)

A national children’s charity, preventing abuse and helping those affected to recover.

Parents Against Child Exploitation (PACE)

The leading national charity working with parents and carers of sexually exploited children.


A UK organisation campaigning against child trafficking and exploitation.