Child sexual exploitation

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 victims needs or wants, and/or (b) for 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.

Like all forms of child sexual abuse, child sexual exploitation:

  • can affect any child or young person, including those who can legally consent to sexual incourse
  • can still be abuse even if the sexual activity appears consensual
  • can include both contact (penetrative and non-penetrative acts) and non-contact sexual activity
  • can take place in person and/or via technology
  • can involve force and/or enticement-based methods of compliance and may, or may not, be accompanied by violence or threats of violence
  • may occur without the child or young person's immediate knowledge (through others copying videos or images they have created and posting on social media)
  • can be perpetrated by individuals or groups, males or females, and children or adults. The abuse can be a one-off occurrence or a series of incidents over time, and range from opportunistic to complex organised abuse
  • is typified by some form of power imbalance in favour of those perpetrating the abuse. Whilst age may be the most obvious, this power imbalance can also be due to a range of other factors including gender, sexual identity, cognitive ability, physical strength, status, and access  to economic or other resources.

Sussex Police - nude selfie animations

Sussex Police have created two animations which highlight the consequences of sending nude selfies to raise awareness with children and young people. Sussex Police have provided guidance below relating to their use:

Due to the subject matter of these videos there is always a risk that YouTube would recommend other videos which are inappropriate.

While we can control whether recommendations are shown when our videos are embedded in other webpages we are not able to control this function in YouTube itself.

However, users of YouTube can control what recommendations they see and they can control whether recommendations automatically play.

We would suggest that if showing our videos in public or to school children that you take the above steps to ensure nothing inappropriate appears and that you test this before showing it to a group.

The first video, tells the story of a young woman sharing a nude selfie and who gets blackmailed and exploited.

The second video told from a boyfriend's perspective, tells the story of him sharing a nude selfie of his girlfriend and things spiralling out of control