Issues Faced By Young People

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse. Children in exploitative situations and relationships receive items such as gifts, money and/or affection as a result of performing sexual acts on them or others or other people performing sexual activities on them.

Children & young people may be manipulated into believing they're in a loving, consensual relationship. They might be invited to parties and given drugs and alcohol. They may also be groomed online(please see Grooming).
Some children and young people are trafficked into or within the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation can also happen to young people in gangs (please see CSE in Gangs).

Child sexual abuse online

When sexual exploitation happens online; young people may be manipulated and persuaded, or forced, to:

  • send or post sexually explicit images or videos of themselves
  • take part in sexual activities via a webcam or smartphone
  • have sexual conversations by text, video or online.

The abuser(s) may threaten to send these images, video or copies of conversations to the young person's friends and family unless they take part in other sexual activity.

Images or videos may continue to be shared long after the sexual abuse has stopped.

Child sexual exploitation in gangs

Sexual exploitation is used in gangs to:

  • exert power and control over gang members
  • initiate young people into the gang
  • exchange sexual activity for status or protection
  • entrap rival gang members by exploiting girls and young women
  • inflict sexual assault as a weapon in conflict


Grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection with a child to gain their trust for the purposes of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or trafficking. Children and young people can be groomed online or face-to-face, by a stranger or by someone they know - for example a family member, friend or professional. Groomers may be male or female. They could be any age. Many children and young people don't understand that they have been groomed or that what has happened is abuse.

Child Trafficking

Child trafficking is child abuse. Children are recruited, moved or transported and then exploited, forced to work or sold. They are often subject to multiple forms of exploitation.
Children are trafficked for:

  • child sexual exploitation
  • benefit fraud
  • forced marriage
  • domestic servitude such as cleaning, childcare, cooking
  • forced labour in factories or agriculture
  • criminal activity such as pickpocketing, begging, transporting drugs, working on cannabis farms, selling pirated DVDs, bag theft.

Many children are trafficked into the UK from abroad, but children can also be trafficked from one part of the UK to another.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the partial or total removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. It's also known as female circumcision or cutting. Religious, social or cultural reasons are sometimes given for FGM. However, FGM is child abuse. It's dangerous and a criminal offence. There are no medical reasons to carry out FGM. It doesn't enhance fertility and it doesn't make childbirth safer. It is used to control female sexuality and can cause severe and long-lasting damage to physical and emotional health.

Forced marriage

Young People have the right to choose who they marry, when they marry or if they marry at all. Forced marriage is when they face physical pressure to marry (eg threats, physical violence or sexual violence) or emotional and psychological pressure (eg if they’re made to feel like they’re bringing shame on their family).

Mental health

  • Suicidal ideations
  • Self-Harm
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Body dysmorphia
  • Hyper kinetic
  • OCD
  • Attachment & Trauma
  • PTSD
  • Parental mental health
  • Eating disorders

Sex & Relationships

Sex and relationships covers a range of issues including; puberty and reproduction, contraception, STIs, healthy and appropriate relationships, issues surrounding gender and sexuality, reasons for having sex, awareness of what consent means, pornography, sexting and abusive relationships.

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is any type of controlling, bullying, threatening or violent behaviour between people in a relationship. But it isn’t just physical violence – domestic abuse includes emotional, physical, sexual, financial or psychological abuse.
Abusive behaviour can occur in any relationship. It can continue even after the relationship has ended. Both men and women can be abused or abusers.
Domestic abuse can seriously harm children and young people. Witnessing domestic abuse is child abuse, and teenagers can suffer domestic abuse in their relationships.

Bullying & Cyberbullying

Bullying is behaviour that hurts someone else – such as name calling, hitting, pushing, spreading rumours, threatening or undermining someone. It can happen anywhere – at school, at home or online. It’s usually repeated over a long period of time and can hurt a child both physically and emotionally. Bullying that happens online, using social networks, games and mobile phones, is often called cyberbullying. A child can feel like there’s no escape because it can happen wherever they are, at any time of day or night.


Sexting is when someone shares sexual, naked or semi-naked images or videos of themselves or others, or sends sexually explicit messages. They can be sent using mobiles, tablets, smartphones, laptops - any device that allows you to share media and messages. Sexting may also be called:

  • trading nudes
  • dirties
  • pic for pic

Risk taking behaviours

  • Truancy
  • Anti-social behaviours
  • Shop lifting
  • Promiscuity
  • Drugs & Alcohol
  • Missing from Home

Social media & online safety (safety)

Online abuse is any type of abuse that happens on the web, whether through social networks, playing online games or using mobile phones. Children and young people may experience cyberbullying, grooming, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or emotional abuse.
Children can be at risk of online abuse from people they know, as well as from strangers. Online abuse may be part of abuse that is taking place in the real world (for example bullying or grooming). Or it may be that the abuse only happens online (for example persuading children to take part in sexual activity online).
Children can feel like there is no escape from online abuse – abusers can contact them at any time of the day or night, the abuse can come into safe places like their bedrooms, and images and videos can be stored and shared with other people.

Gangs & Youth based violence

Children and young people involved with, or on the edges of, gangs might be victims of violence or they might be pressured into doing things like stealing or carrying drugs or weapons. They might be abused, exploited or put into dangerous situations.
For lots of young people, being part of a gang makes them feel part of a family so they might not want to leave. Even if they do, leaving or attempting to leave can be a really scary idea. They might be frightened about what will happen to them, their friends or their family if they leave.

Sexually harmful behaviours

  • using sexually explicit words and phrases
  • inappropriate touching
  • using sexual violence or threats
  • full penetrative sex with other children or adults.

Children and young people who develop harmful sexual behaviour harm themselves and others.

Age differences and harmful sexual behaviour

Sexual behaviour between children is also considered harmful if one of the children is much older – particularly if there is more than two years’ difference in age or if one of the children is pre-pubescent and the other isn’t.
However, a younger child can abuse an older child, particularly if they have power over them – for example, if the older child is disabled.

Child of prisoners

Children with a parent in prison are

  • Twice as likely to experience conduct and mental health problems, and less likely to do well at school.
  • Three times more likely to be involved in offending. 65% of boys with a convicted father will go on to offend themselves.

It is also understood that children with a parent in prison, feel isolated and ashamed, feeling unable to talk about their situation because they are scared of being bullied and judged.

Preventing Radicalisation

In order for schools to fulfil the Prevent duty, it is essential that staff are able to identify children who may be vulnerable to radicalisation, and know what to do when they are identified. Protecting children from the risk of radicalisation should be seen as part of our wider safeguarding duties, and is similar in nature to protecting Children & Young People from other harms (e.g. drugs, gangs, neglect, sexual exploitation), whether these come from within their family or are the product of outside influences.


Grief may not feel normal but it is. Everyone will grieve in their own way. A child or young person may experience all sorts of feelings or they may feel nothing. They may find it easy to talk or they might bottle all of their emotions up.
The struggle for independence at this age may cause a bereaved young person to challenge beliefs and expectations of others as to how they should feel or behave. Death increases anxiety about the future and may cause them to question life and in some cases experience depression. Young people sometimes find it easier to talk to their peers, but may wish to speak with an adult or close family member. Anger makes up for a large part of grief, often compounded by a sense of injustice.


Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender (LGBT)
Did you know that most teenagers question their sexuality during growing up?
An increasing number of people are also questioning their gender too.
This is both an exciting and quite stressful time in life. Everyone is on their own journey with this, and we all end up in slightly different places.
The important thing to remember is to allow young people to take their time, they need to talk to people they trust, and encourage them not to compare themselves with other people: everyone is different.


  • Healthy eating
  • Exercise
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Sexual health


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