Skip to main content

Key messages from research on child sexual exploitation: Strategic Commissioning of Children’s Services

This briefing paper is for commissioners of children’s social care and related children’s services. It brings together key messages from research on child sexual exploitation (CSE) with implications for commissioning and should be read in conjunction with guidance for professionals. Key messages

  • Child sexual exploitation can happen to young people from all backgrounds. Whilst young women are the majority of victims, boys and young men are also exploited.
  • Some young people may be more vulnerable – those who have experienced prior abuse, are homeless, are misusing alcohol and drugs, have a disability, are in care, are out of education, have run away/ go missing from home or care, or are gang-associated.
  • Assessment of scale and need should be based on local analysis of both victimisation and perpetration.
  • Ensuring regular learning and ongoing professional development for professionals, and involving practitioners in the design of services, are ways to cascade strategic approaches on sexual exploitation to frontline practice.
  • Specialist services can offer intensive and flexible support to young people, reducing a number of risks associated with sexual exploitation and potentially offering significant savings.
  • Placements with well-supported foster carers who have had specialist training on sexual exploitation show positive impact for sexually exploited young people.
  • It is important for services to have mechanisms to recognise and address the emotional impact on practitioners of supporting sexually exploited young people.