Child Exploitation

Knowsley has a high prevalence of the risk factors identified by the Home Office in understanding child exploitation, including high levels of missing from home and care, evidence of mental ill health and high levels of school absences. Child exploitation exposes children, who are often already vulnerable, to considerable serious risks, both in the long and short term. The impact of child exploitation also poses significant risks to the stability of families, to friends, and their communities including schools.


The consequences of exploitation are massive and wide-ranging, and the number of services who will provide interventions and services to these children and their families is significant. As with issues such as domestic violence, when a child is identified as being a victim of or at risk of exploitation, they will need immediate protective interventions, but may also require longer term support from a variety of agencies, including universal services such as health and education, but also specialist targeted provision including mental health, counselling and sexual health services.


In Merseyside, suspected perpetrators of CSE are likely to be aged between 18-25 years old, with the dominant model of exploitation being the boyfriend model. The boyfriend model (as described in Barnardo’s ‘Puppet on a String’ research) is where the perpetrator befriends and grooms a young person into a ‘relationship’ and then coerces or forces them to have sex with friends or associates. There are also examples of peer-to-peer exploitation, with 10% of all CSE suspects in Merseyside aged under 18.


The majority of known CSE victims are female. Recent cases in 2015, have shown that 7% of cases discussed at MACSE have been related to male victims. In terms of perpetrators in Merseyside, 95% of suspects are male; 5% are female


The full JSNA report can be found here: Child Exploitation JSNA Final

Published: December 2015