Child Sexual Exploitation

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is a form of abuse which has been under-reported and has largely remained undetected across the UK. It is clear from research that children are at risk of sexual exploitation in all geographical areas, including the Bailiwick of Guernsey. This page outlines the definition of CSE, the warning signs and how to refer if you have concerns. For more detailed information the operating protocol for services in the Bailiwick can be downloaded at the bottom of the page.

Sexual exploitation of children and young people under 18 involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people (or a third person or persons) receive 'something' (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of them performing, and/or another or others performing on them, sexual activities. Child sexual exploitation can occur through the use of technology without the child's immediate recognition; for example being persuaded to post sexual images on the Internet/mobile phones without immediate payment or gain. In all cases, those exploiting the child/young person have power over them by virtue of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or economic or other resources. Violence, coercion and intimidation are common, involvement in exploitative relationships being characterised in the main by the child or young person's limited availability of choice resulting from their social/economic and/or emotional vulnerability.

(HM Government, 2009)




Children and young people who are victims of sexual exploitation do not always recognise that they are being abused. Below are some of the warning signs that may indicate they are vulnerable to being groomed or that they are already being sexually exploited. The signs are displayed as a mnemonic 'SAFEGUARD', developed by the London Metropolitan Police. 


exual health and behaviour

Evidence of sexually transmitted infections, inappropriate sexualised behaviour or pregnancy.


bsent from school or repeatedly running away

Evidence of truancy from school, periods of being missing from care or from home. 


amilial abuse and/or problems at home

Familial sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, as well as risk of forced marriage or honour-based violence; domestic violence; substance misuse; parental mental health concerns; parental criminality; experience of homelessness; living in a care home or temporary accommodation. 


motional and physical condition

Thoughts of, or attempted, suicide or self-harming; low self-esteem or self-confidence; problems relating to sexual orientation; learning difficulties or poor mental health; unexplained injuries or changes in physical appearance. 


angs, older age groups and involvement in crime

Involvement in crime; direct involvement with gang members or living in a gang-afflicted community; involvement with older individuals or lacking friends from the same age group; contact with other individuals who are sexually exploited. 


se of technology and sexual bullying

Evidence of 'sexting', sexualised communication on-line or problematic use of the internet and social networking sites. 


lcohol and drug misuse

Problematic substance misuse. 


eceipt of unexplained gifts or money 

Unexplained finances, including phone credit, clothes and money. 


istrust of authority figures

Resistance to communicating with parents, carers, teachers, social services, health, police and others. 

Download the SAFEGUARD mnemonic as a Word document

word icon SAFEGUARD mnemonic [1Mb]

If you have concerns that a child you know is being sexually exploited you should refer to the MASH. If the child has a social worker the referral will be sent to them and the police for a strategy discussion. If the child does not have a social worker the MASH will assess the case and determine the action to be taken. If CSE is confirmed or suspected the case will also be considered at a Multi-Agency Sexual Exploitation meeting (MASE), which takes an overview of CSE in the islands. 

It is also possible to email the police directly with concerns about CSE at:

Download the referral pathway as a Word document

word icon Multi-agency referral pathway [240kb]

Download the Bailiwick of Guernsey Child Sexual Exploitation Operating Protocol

pdf icon Child Sexual Exploitation Operating Protocol [856kb]

This page was added to the website on 22 December 2015
3 February 2016 contact details