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Additional funding, specialised training, and a new definition of child sexual exploitation (CSE) has been announced to tackle crime against children and young people.

The statutory definition of child sexual exploitation has been changed by the government.
With a view that the previous version dating from 2009 was “unclear and out of date” the Department for Education (DfE) has updated its Working Together child safeguarding guidance with a new definition and guide for practitioners on working with child sexual exploitation.

The changes coincide with the announcement of £7.5m of funding for a Centre for Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse to help tackle CSE. It will act as the definitive source of information and guidance for education, health and social care professionals working on the frontline tackling child sexual abuse and exploitation.

Definition of CSE updated

The new CSE definition states: “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 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.”

The DfE document warns that child sexual exploitation can still be abuse even if the sexual activity appears consensual, involve force and/or enticement and also occur without the child or young person’s immediate knowledge (through others copying videos or images they have created and posting on social media, for example).

Centre for Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse unveiled

The Centre for Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse is part of a £40 million government package of measures to protect children and young people from sexual abuse, exploitation and trafficking, and to crack down on offenders.

A consortium of health, law enforcement, social care professionals, charities and academics, the centre is funded by the Home Office and led by Barnardo’s, and works closely with partners from academic institutions, local authorities, health, education, police, and the voluntary sector.

In addition to the new centre, the government measures provide an extra £20 million for the National Crime Agency to tackle online child sexual exploitation, £2.2 million for organisations working to protect children at risk of trafficking and the launch of Independent Child Trafficking Advocates (ICTAs) in three early-adopter sites across the UK.
The announcement followed the publication of the government’s tackling child sexual exploitation progress report, detailing the steps taken so far and what more needs to be done. 

Sanctuary CSE training course

Sanctuary Training is also playing a role by holding a CSE course where delegates can learn how to detect the early signs of grooming and support and safeguard vulnerable children and young people from this harm.

The course, held at the London Victoria Premier Inn on March 28, is aimed at anyone directly working with children and young people such as social workers, health workers, youth justice workers and teachers. It includes a second element on the issue of Radicalisation and Religious Extremism in our society.

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