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Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) - Advice and guidance

Forms of CSE

CSE can take a number of forms and Barnardos has identified three models which are recognised nationally;

‘Single Adult’ a lone adult perpetrator

  • Inappropriate relationships involving a lone perpetrator who has inappropriate power or control over a young person, whether physical (including domestic abuse), emotional or economic.
  • There is likely to be a significant age gap between the perpetrator and victim.
  • The young person may believe that they are in a loving, equal relationship.

The ‘boyfriend’ model of exploitation and peer on peer exploitation

  • The perpetrator befriends and grooms a young person into a ‘relationship’ and subsequently coerces them to have sex with friends or associates.

Elements of organised/networked sexual exploitation or trafficking

  • Young people are passed through networks of offenders, possibly between towns and cities, where they may be coerced into sexual activity with multiple men. Victims may also be used as agents to recruit other children and young people.
  • Where there are groups of offenders in a network, these should be considered as Organised Crime Groups (OCGs).

Visit the Barnados website

Peer on Peer abuse

  • Peer on peer abuse occurs when a young person is exploited, bullied and / or harmed by their peers who are the same or similar age; everyone directly involved in peer on peer abuse is under the age of 18. ‘Peer-on-peer’ abuse can relate to various forms of abuse (not just sexual abuse and exploitation), and crucially it does not capture the fact that the behaviour in question is harmful to the child perpetrator as well as the victim.
  • Key areas where peer on peer abuse occurs are:
    • Bullying, including online/cyber bullying and prejudice-based bullying
    • Racist, religious, disability and homophobic or transphobic abuse
    • Gender based violence/violence against girls and young women
    • Teenage relationship abuse
    • Issues relating to gang activity and youth violence

Download Peer on Peer Abuse advice