There is no specific offence for ‘child sexual exploitation’ therefore perpetrators can be convicted under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for offences such as:

  • Rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual activity with a child
  • Possessing indecent images of children
  • Distribution of indecent images of a child
  • Making indecent images of a child
  • Inciting a child to engage in sexual activity
  • Abuse of position of trust
  • Meeting a child following sexual grooming
  • Trafficking within the UK for sexual exploitation
  • Trafficking out of/into the UK for sexual exploitation
  • Administering a substance with intent to commit a sexual offence

Most serious crimes listed above would fall under section 47 of the Children’s Act 1989, where you have ‘reasonable cause to suspect that a child who lives, or is found, in their area is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm.’

If you are concerned about a child in relation to any of these things, you have a duty of care to report this to the police and your local authority’s social care team.

Effectively coordinated and joined-up multi-agency working with all those involved in the conviction process from the police, social services and voluntary organisations ensures a higher success rate of CSE prosecutions.


    Good practice guidance on responding to suspected cases of child sexual exploitation.

  • MAKING A REport

    If you are concerned about a child, read our guide on how to refer the case and get help.

  • Our CSE Training

    Specialist training in CSE for practitioners working with children and young people.