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Sexual exploitation

Sexual exploitation can happen to Adults and Children.

What is sexual exploitation?

Sexual exploitation includes rape, prostitution, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting.

Adults and children can be sexually exploited.

What is adult sexual exploitation?

Adults can be sexually exploited in many ways. Examples include:

  • Rape (which can include rape by a partner, if the sex is unwanted - no means no, with no exception)
  • Sexual assault
  • Being tricked or manipulated into having sex or performing a sexual act
  • Being trafficked into, out of, or around the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation (i.e. prostitution)
  • Being forced to take part in or watch pornography

Anybody could be a victim of sexual exploitation, rape or sexual assault. While a majority of victims are women, men can also be victim.

Victims can be supported by Victims First Northumbria (opens new window).

Counselling for Adult Survivors of Sexual Violence and Abuse is offered by Sunderland Counselling Services (opens new window) who provide support for men and women over the age of 18 from the Sunderland area, who have experienced sexual abuse, rape or sexual violence, either in childhood or as an adult, and who are looking for support to address the impact of their experiences.

What is child sexual exploitation?

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of child abuse. It happens when a young person is encouraged, or forced, to take part in sexual activity in exchange for something.

The reward might be presents, money, alcohol, or simply emotional attention.

It can happen to any child or young person.

It might seem like a normal friendship or relationship to begin with.

It can happen online or offline, and without the young person being aware of it.

Who does child sexual exploitation happen to?

Any young person can be a victim of child sexual exploitation.

It can happen to boys as well as girls.

It can happen to young people of all races and backgrounds.

Young people experiencing problems at home who go missing or are in care can be vulnerable and particularly at risk, but child sexual exploitation can also happen to those from a loving, supportive home.

Who does it? 

There is no standard profile of an exploiter, and child sexual exploitation can also happen between young people - peer to peer and especially within gangs or social groups.

Because there's no standard profile of an offender, child sexual exploitation is hard to spot - even for the young person affected. They may be groomed over time and so not be aware that they are a victim, and even if they are, they may think that it's their fault.

How Do I Spot The Signs? (opens new window)

You can also download Barnardo's tailored advice leaflets for parents, and young people across the UK.

How Do I Report A Concern For A Child? (opens new window)

How Do I Report A Concern For An Adult?

Information on Child Sexual Exploitation (opens new window)

External Links
Child Sexual Exploitation: Definition And Guide For Practitioners (opens new window)

What To Do If You’re Worried A Child Is Being Abused: Advice For Practitioners (opens new window)

Barnardo's: Child Sexual Exploitation: Spotting The Signs And Support For Families (opens new window)

Victims First Northumbria (opens new window)

Counselling for Adult Survivors of Sexual Violence and Abuse (opens new window)


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