Safeguarding Children and Young People from Sexual Exploitation

Safeguarding Children and Young People from Sexual Exploitation

The guidance provides information about the different forms of sexual exploitation, helping local agencies develop prevention strategies. It will help identify those at risk of sexual exploitation and take action to safeguard and promote the welfare of particular children and young people. It will also help take action against those intent on abusing and exploiting children and young people in this way.

Children who are sexually exploited are the victims of sexual abuse and should be safeguarded from further harm. Sexually exploited children should not be regarded as criminals and the primary law enforcement response must be directed at perpetrators who groom children for sexual exploitation.

The guidance discusses in more detail what is known about child sexual exploitation from practice and research, including information on prevalence and the impact on children and young people and their families.  It provides a definition of sexual exploitation and sets out some key principles which inform effective practice in working with children and young people who are at risk of, or are suffering, sexual exploitation.


  • Scope and purpose
  • Some key principles
  • The issue of sexual exploitation
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Preventing sexual exploitation
  • Managing individual cases
  • Identifying and prosecuting perpetrators
  • Annexes

Safeguarding Children and Young People from Sexual Exploitation: Supplementary guidance to Working Together to Safeguard Children

A step by step guide for frontline practitioners is available:

Child Sexual Exploitation Step by Step Guide (pdf, 42kb)


Procedure Flowcharts

  1. Referral to Children's Social Care
  2. Action following assessment
  3. Urgent action to safeguard children
  4. What happens after the strategy discussion?
  5. What happens after the child protection conference, including the review process?