Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

The Metropolitan Police revised its Multi agency Protocol for protecting the welfare of children from Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) in June 2017. It sets out how through our partnerships we assess, challenge, and provide an enhanced, effective service to reduce the harm and threats posed to children and young people from Child Sexual Exploitation.

The Aims of the Protocol are:

  • To identify children at risk of being sexually exploited.
  • To ensure a child centred approach, action will be focused on the child’s needs. This includes consideration of children with particular vulnerabilities or sensitivities, and the fact that children do not always acknowledge what may be an abusive or exploitative situation. Sexually exploited children are children in need of services under the Children Act 1989 and 2004. They are also children in need of protection.
  • To ensure the safeguarding and welfare of children and young people who are, or may be, at risk from sexual exploitation.
  • To work collaboratively to ensure that young people at risk of being sexually exploited are safeguarded.
  • To provide timely and effective interventions with children and families to safeguard those vulnerable to sexual exploitation.
  • To apply pro-active problem solving to address the risks associated with victims, offenders, locations, and themes (VOLT).
  • To act against those intent on abusing and exploiting children and young people by prosecuting and disrupting perpetrators.
  • To raise awareness and provide preventative education for the welfare of children and young people who are, or may be, sexually exploited.

In February 2017, the Department for Education (DfE) published a definition and guide for practitioners, local leaders and decision makers working to protect children from child sexual exploitation (CSE):

“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 18into 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 occur through the use of technology.”

This definition was formally adopted by the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) in July 2017 for use across the partnership and in all areas of multi-agency CSE working.

Partnership activity to safeguard young people at risk of sexual exploitation in Barking and Dagenham is overseen by the Multi Agency Sexual Exploitation (MASE) group and reported to Performance, Learning and Quality Assurance Group (PLQA) that reports directly to the Local Safeguarding Children Board. CSE is a Priority for the LSCB and is reported on as part of the Annual Report.

Membership of the MASE and PLQA groups consists of strategic leads across the multi-agency partnership, ensuring that the borough has a coherent response to CSE.

Linda Helliar, CSE Co-Ordinator

10 CSE Principles, Cards to Share From YP

Working with a Young Researcher’s Advisory Panel, the University of Bedfordshire’s Alexi Project have synthesised messages about how young people would like to be worked with into 10 principles for working with young people affected by CSE. They then commissioned the artistUnato illustrate the principles and have turned these into 10 postcards that can be shared online and in print form with professionals. Postcards describe in simple text and colourful graphics:

View all 10 postcards in one file here.

Policy Documents and Pathways


Further information

Publications and research

Updated:  November 2017