Children Abused Through Sexual Exploitation

Children Abused Through Sexual Exploitation





Version as at Jun 14

Contents / Page Number
Introduction / 3
Guidance on use of the toolkit / 3
Assessing and Recording the Risk / 6
Required action – Brief Considerations / 7
Thresholds and appropriate intervention / 9
Information Report Guidance / 11
Definition of Child Sexual Exploitation / 12
Glossary of Terms / 13
Useful Numbers/Websites / 14
Practitioners CSE Risk Assessment / Appendix 1
Sexual Exploitation Risk Assessment (SERA) Model / Appendix 2
CSE Analysis / Appendix 3
Information Report Form / Appendix 4
Disruption Letter to known or alleged perpetrators / Appendix 5
Intervention and Disruption Strategies / Appendix 6




The purpose of the assessment toolkit is to enable professionals to assess a child or young person’s level of risk of child sexual exploitation in a quick and consistent manner.

Who is this toolkit for?

This toolkit is for all professionals who work with children and young people who are at risk of or being sexually exploited. Important points to remember when assessing Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE):

  • Both girls and boys can be victims of child sexual exploitation and can be equally vulnerable
  • The coercers and perpetrators are usually an adult, but can be children and young people in a position of power of either gender.
  • It should be considered that those who appear to be coercing others into child sexual exploitation may be victims of it themselves.
  • Young people may exchange or sell sex as a result of constrained choices such as poverty, isolation and historic abuse.
  • Parents/Carers may be involved in the sexual exploitation of their children and young people or fail to prevent/protect from it.
  • Groups of children and young people and multiple perpetrators may be involved (organised abuse).
  • Children and Young People under the age of 18 (Children Act 1989) are considered under the scope of this guidance and toolkit.
  • No child under 13 years can be assessed as Lower Risk if behaviours indicate involvement in CSE.
  • Children and Young People with additional needs require special consideration up to the age of 21 years.
  • No child with a learning disability will be assessed as Low Risk if behaviours indicate involvement in or risk of CSE.
  • Be aware: disclosure of information by the young person may take time and evident risks may only emerge during ongoing engagement with them.

Guidance on the use of the Toolkit

These indicators are a guide and do not replace, but should assist the exercise of professional judgment.

Completion of the Risk Assessment Toolkit by the professional identifying the concerns should involve liaison with other agencies to ensure that there is multi-agency information sharing and support.

If a child or young person presents with an indicator of CSE action is required;the earlier the intervention, the better the chances of success. Not all indicators of CSE may require social care or specialist intervention but a record must be kept of the case and what interventions have taken place and kept on the young person’s file.

In all circumstances where there is an indicator of CSE serious consideration should be given to sharing this intelligence with Police using the CSE1 - Information Reportand this should be submitted to Essex Police CSE Triage Team in line with your agencies information sharing policy and the principles of the seven golden rules for information sharing.

If a child or young person presents with a number of indicators or one indicator to a marked extent they are to be assessed carefully and a decision made as to whether they require a local assessment to be completed. Consultation with the CSE Champion for further advice or guidance is recommended. The reasons for the specific level of intervention are to be clearly recorded. This will depend on the presenting indicators. This is not an exhaustive list, the indicators and vulnerability factors are simply the most common indicators of CSE. If a child or young person presents with other factors they need to be included on the risk assessment and clearly linked to the actions on your local risk assessment, Child in Need or Child Protection Plan.

The risk to children and young people can change quickly therefore regular assessment should be undertaken using the Risk Indicators and Sera Model (see appendices). Any escalation of risk should be dealt with immediately through the processes outlined below and recorded in the young person’s file. Where risk has escalated/reduced a new risk assessment form should be completed and attached to individual files. Where new intelligence is identified this should be shared where appropriate with Police using the CSE1 - Information Report and this should be submitted to Essex Police CSE Triage Team and again this should be in line with your agencies information sharing policy and the principles of the seven golden rules for information sharing.

Where Medium indicators are present and the decision is made that the case does not meet the threshold for referral to children’s social care a multi-agency assessment and response should be undertaken in accordance with local procedures. Such cases must be discussed with the CSE Champion.

Where High indicators are present a discussion must take place with Children’s Social Care, who will decide whether the case meets the threshold for social care intervention and whether there should be a Child Protection investigation.

Children and young people at risk of CSE may be reluctant to work with professionals, particularly if they are in love or if they fear the perpetrator/s. The level of coercion used to groom and abuse young people should never be underestimated. Where reluctance to engage is an issue, the person with the best professional relationship with the young

person should lead the work with them. There should be a strong focus on the disruption and prosecution of perpetrators. Information should be gathered through the information report forms (see appendices).

The SET Child Protection Procedures (2015), DCSF (2009) and the Sexual Offences Act (2003) recognizes that sexually exploited young people are victims of abuse regardless of their reluctance to engage. To aid this understanding and reaffirm the SET LSCBs’ stance, where possible, professionals should reinforce the nature of the crimes against young people with the children and young people, their parents/carers and siblings.

Medium and High Risk cases should be monitored and recorded at regular multi agency meetings. By doing so the impact of the work can be assessed and an analysis of the levels of risk on engagement and thereafter can be documented.

The level of intervention required depends on the presenting indicators. If as the CSE Champion you are unsure of the level of risk this should be discussed and led by a decision made with Children’s Social Care

To achieve the best outcomes, additional vulnerability factors need to be addressed. Each recognised factor should be included in the action plan and have specific actions to remove or reduce the risk or impact of that issue.

Assessing and Recording the Risk

Step 1: Identify the risk indicators

Ensure that the Practitioner has completed the “Practitioners CSE Risk Assessment” (appendix 1).

Consider that all risk factors identified may require action by a professional or Multi-Agency Team.

Remember that Standard Risk does not mean No Risk. As a CSE Champion you should always be consulted in cases where Medium Risk indicators are identified and in High Risk cases a referral to Children’s Social Care should always be made.

Step 2 – Identify the child and the assessor

As the second stage of the Practitioners risk assessment it is imperative that the full details of both the child concerned and the person undertaking the assessment process are recorded.

Step 3 – Identify additional vulnerability factors

The significance of these factors is evidenced when you consider that to achieve the best outcomes each recognised factor needs to be addressed and have specific actions to remove or reduce the risk or impact of that issue included in the Action Plan.

Step 4 – What to do next

Follow the flowchart contained within the Practitioners risk assessment document. This will ensure that you review risk, record and share information appropriately and identify a network of professionals to support the child and their family.

Required Action – Brief Considerations

Standard Risk

  • If needs cannot be met by individual agency, then complete a CAF and follow local procedures.
  • Notify MISPER Police if missing is an issue
  • Keep detailed records of incidents/risks.
  • Send the Information Report Form to Essex Police Intelligence Unit
  • No child under 13 can be categorised as STANDARD.
  • No child with a learning disability can be categorised as STANDARD.
  • Contact CSE Champion, where available, for advice and resources if risk escalates
  • Submit Information Report from outside Agency to Essex Police Intelligence Unit.

Medium Risk

  • Discuss with Line Manager
  • Contact CSE Champion, where available or Children’s Social Care to discuss
  • If not child protection, local assessment to be completed within 10 working days in line with local procedures
  • Where there is a service specific assessment such as ASSET in place, then this can be updated and should include additional information to inform pre sentence reports.
  • Police discussion regarding investigation needs/MISPER
  • Southend-Children and Families Panel meeting
  • Employ immediate disruption tactics – see disruption toolkit.
  • Information Report forms to be completed and sent to Essex Police Intelligence Unit.
  • Is this symptomatic, coerced or criminal offending?
  • Invite to strategy/locality panel meetings include in risk assessment

High Risk

  • Refer to Children’s Social Care
  • Joint investigation with the Police and Children’s Social Care.
  • Update initial/core assessment and use the risk assessment toolkit to guide or update assessment
  • Use Key Disruption Tactics
  • Information Report Form to be completed and sent to Essex Police CSE Triage Team
  • Child Abduction Warning Notices.
  • Alerts
  • UKHuman Trafficking Centre/UKBorder Agency
  • Cross ref i/c teenage pregnancy/DV strategies
  • Harm reduction/Detox programmes
  • Psychiatric assessment/intensive support
  • Reinforce criminality of offender and gather information for police and social care.

Thresholds and Appropriate Intervention

In every case an appropriate assessment should be undertaken to identify risk and level of intervention required

Standard Risk

This child or young person requires intervention by a professional, parent or carer that has a good relationship with them to carry out some healthy relationships and rights work. Depending on the indicators they present with, they will also require some basic awareness raising work on CSE, sexual health, risk taking behaviours and consequences. If there is a person/s posing a risk to them ensure they are disrupted and information about them recorded and passed to the appropriate persons.

Suggested Responses

  • Discuss with line manager/CSE Champion
  • Ensure that this child or young person is listed on file as at risk of CSE.
  • Carry out basic intervention work – example above, over a 4-6 week period.
  • Consider local assessment.
  • The child or young person is to be assessed for changes to risk status every 4-6 weeks. Risk Matrix to be monitored until the child or young person is safe or the risk is removed
  • If risk is escalating report to Children’s Social Care and follow procedures below for Medium or High Risk cases.

Medium Risk

This child or young person is likely to require a multi-agency assessment and intervention. If they present immediately with Medium Risk indicators the suggested responses may be considered in addition to more intensive work on CSE, Grooming, Positive Choices, Safety and Contingency planning. Work is likely to be required on any additional vulnerability factors and with the family, siblings and peers. These cases should always be subject to a multi-agency assessment and intervention. Consideration should always be given to whether the case meets the threshold for referral to Children’s Social Care or the Police. If the child or young person is already open to Children’s Social Care assessments are to be updated and if required, a child protection enquiry to be undertaken.

Suggested Responses

  • Discuss with line manager
  • Discuss with CSE Champion
  • Refer for multi-agency intervention or Children’s Social Care
  • Police discussion regarding investigation needs/MISPER
  • Strategy meetings under SET Child Protection Procedures where appropriate
  • Seek guidance/advice and refer to CSE Specialist Voluntary Sector Services
  • Collate and share information on any perpetrators, hotspots and associations involved with the young person
  • Regular multi agency meetings until child/young person is protected or desists from risk taking behaviours

High Risk

Always requires referral to Children’s Social Care and/or Police

Core assessment and Coordinated Intensive support of child or young person and family through a Child in Need/Child Protection Plan

Suggested Responses

  • As above and
  • Referral to Children’s Social Care
  • Referral to Essex Police CAIT
  • Child Protection investigation
  • Regular review under Child Protection or Children in Need until child is protected from abuse
  • Police to run case via Crown Prosecution Service for evidential thresholds for prosecution
  • Ensure child is immediately protected e.g. use of police or other powers if required


Remember Social Care and the Police will lead the investigation and any formal interviews.

The effectiveness of any current interventions should be assessed to determine whether they are sufficient to:

  • Prevent the young person from going missing;
  • Protect the young person from being exposed to any further risk
  • Prevent the sexual exploitation;
  • Change risk taking behaviour.

Good Practice:

  • Intensive support around the child, family and peers
  • Equal focus on the three pronged governmental approach to CSE, Prevention, Protection and Prosecution.
  • Awareness raising with any professional, family or community
  • Note and disrupt Hot Spots, Houses, Hotels, Shopping Centres being used and report to licensing bodies where appropriate
  • If interventions are failing to change the behaviours or risks to the child or young person, it is not acceptable to carry on trying the same things. More radical interventions should be considered.

Professionals need to read this guidance in conjunction with:

  • Safeguarding Children who may have been Trafficked (DFE 2011)
  • Working Together to Safeguard Children (DfE 2015)
  • SET Child Protection and Safeguarding Procedures (2015)
  • Safeguarding children and young people from Sexual Exploitation (DCSF 2009)
  • The UK Action Plan (2011) Supplementary to (DCSF 2009)
  • Children and Young Person’s Missing from Home or Care (2014)
  • Sexually Active Children (Part B3 section 27 of the SET Child Protection Procedures 2015)
  • SET Child Sexual Exploitation Procedures (2012)
  • SET Child Sexual Exploitation Disruption Toolkit (2012)

CSE Information Report Guidance

The information report form offers a multi-agency system of sharing information with Essex Police and Children’s Social Care to aid keeping young people safe. This form should be used to provide details of any crimes or concerns about those people who groom or sexually exploit young people.

The form focuses specifically on the behaviours or actions of alleged or known perpetrators and can act to corroborate the statement of the child or young person.

Once completed this form will go via secure email (details at bottom of form) to the ESSEX POLICE CSE TRIAGE TEAM.

You must also share it with any other person involved with the young person.

If the information is about significant harm to a child or young person then normal children’s social care referral systems must be used to report those concerns.

The information can also include low level, soft “whisperings” and gut feelings, something that does not sit well with you or co-workers but has nowhere else to go but please ensure that the information is as accurate and current as possible.

Please ensure that full names and details of victims and where possible perpetrators are provided. If you are unsure of the information then make checks before completing the form and sending it to Essex Police CSE Triage Team

If the information is unreliable or you are uncertain about the content, you may wish to discuss the case at a Locality Panel meeting before completing the Information Report Form and sending to the relevant persons. (Southend)

NEVER assume someone else has passed on the information you have, duplicate information is better than none.

Definition of Sexual Exploitation

"The sexual exploitation of children and young people under 18 involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people (or a third person or persons) receive ‘something' (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of performing, and/or others performing on them, sexual activities.
Child sexual exploitation can occur through use of technology without the child's immediate recognition, for example the persuasion to post sexual images on the internet/mobile phones with no immediate payment or gain. In all cases those exploiting the child/young person have power over them by virtue of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or economic or other resources."

(Paragraph 1.3 Safeguarding Children and Young People from Sexual Exploitation; DCSF 2009)

"Children and young people who are sexually exploited are the victims of child sexual abuse, and their needs require careful assessment. They are likely to be in need of welfare services and - in many cases - protection under the Children Act 1989. This group may include children who have been sexually abused through the misuse of technology, coerced into sexual activity by criminal gangs or the victims of trafficking."