William Eichler 16 February 2016

New definition of child sexual exploitation

A consultation seeking to clarify the definition of child sexual exploitation has been launched.

There are a number of different definitions of child sexual exploitation in use across a wide range of voluntary organisations and agencies.

The Government consultation will provide clarity in order to avoid confusion in risk assessment and data collection.

The proposed definition is: ‘Child sexual exploitation is a form of child abuse. It occurs where anyone under the age of 18 is persuaded, coerced or forced into sexual activity in exchange for, amongst other things, money, drugs/alcohol, gifts, affection or status. Consent is irrelevant, even where a child may believe they are voluntarily engaging in sexual activity with the person who is exploiting them. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact and may occur online.’

Minister for preventing abuse, exploitation and crime, Karen Bradley, said: ‘Tackling child sexual abuse and exploitation is a top priority for this government, and victims and survivors of abuse are more than ever feeling confident to report their experiences.

‘The Government is clear that protection from abuse and neglect is a fundamental right for all children.

‘The proposed definition is intended to remove any ambiguity and ensure that everyone working to prevent abuse and child sexual exploitation is using the same definition.’

The revised definition will come into effect on 1 April 2016 if approved.

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