Can you spot the abuser?

The truth is, you can’t

Research into CE shows that there is no one type of abuser.

Perpetrators of child exploitation can be male or female, come from any ethnic background and be any age. They may have a low social and/or economic status or they could be a wealthy individual in a considerable position of authority.

By raising awareness of CE we hope that more people will think, spot and speak out against abuse. 

Exploitation can also involve opportunistic or organised networks of perpetrators who may profit financially from trafficking children / young people between different locations to engage in sexual activity often with multiple men.

Recent research conducted by the NSPCC indicates that around 5% of UK children suffer contact sexual abuse at some point during childhood. It is likely that around 190,000 of these will fall victim to contact sexual abuse by a stranger or an adult relative (other than a parent or guardian) before turning 18. This represents an average of more than 10,000 new victims in the UK every year. 4 

35% of all sexual crimes recorded in England and Wales in 2012/13 were sexual crimes against children under 16. 1

An Office of the Children’s Commissioner’s Inquiry heard of individuals who would find and groom children and young people using social networking sites, meet them in person, and then circulate them among their friends who would exploit them. 3

CSE involves the abusive exercise of power by perpetrators over those who are vulnerable. 3

An Office of the Children’s Commissioner’s Inquiry was repeatedly informed of occasions when the primary groomer, or connection to a wider network of perpetrators, belonged, or was connected to, a victim’s family. 3

The abuse of the power and authority that comes with status, be that celebrity or otherwise, certainly remains a potential threat to children. 4

An Office of the Children’s Commissioner’s Inquiry was told of bus and coach stations being used by perpetrators to spot and recruit children and young people for sexual exploitation. This was particularly the case where they were running away from home or living on the street. 3

More than one in three children (34%) who experienced contact sexual abuse by an adult did not tell anyone else about it. 2 

Compared with ‘single-perpetrator’ sexual violence, group-based sexual offending is committed more frequently by offenders in their teens and early twenties, as opposed to those who offend alone. 3

Technology is widely used by perpetrators as a method of grooming and coercing victims, often through social networking sites and mobile devices. 6

1. Office for National Statistics 2013 In: Crime in England and Wales 2012/13: findings from the British Crime Survey and police recorded crime.
2. Allnock, D. and Miller, P. (2013) No one noticed, no one heard: a study of disclosures of childhood abuse. [London]: NSPCC.
3. Office of the Children’s Commissioner’s Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Gangs and Groups. Final Report. November 2013.
4. Threat assessment of child sexual exploitation and abuse.Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, 2013.
5. Barnados 2011.
6. Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre 2011.