1.CSE takes many different forms from rape and sexual assault to online grooming and encouraging children to share inappropriate images of themselves

2. The key factor is that individuals take advantage of young people by manipulating or deceiving them into sexual activity in exchange for something the victim needs or wants.  This could range from money and alcohol to less tangible things such as the attention that they crave at a vulnerable time in their lives.

3. CSE can affect any young girl or oy regardless of where they live, their family situation, cultural or social background

Lauren’s vulnerabilities put her at even greater risk of online grooming but the specialist support from Safe and Sound has helped her recognise the dangers so that she can concentrate on her future sporting goals.

Lauren (not her real name) enjoys school and sport and she works hard to achieve her goals.

Lauren has learning difficulties and is young for her age which makes her particularly vulnerable.

Although Lauren is occupied with sport most of the time when out of school (supported by her parents) like most teenagers she enjoys spending time on social media.

Her parents became increasingly concerned about who she had been talking to.

Matters came to a head two years ago, when Lauren was 14.  A man contacted her – making increasingly explicit sexual comments and sharing photographs with her online.

Her distraught parents found out, confiscated her phone and made sure privacy settings were up to date.  They however recognised that they needed more help as Lauren’s trusting and friendly nature meant she could not understand that she was increasingly at risk of being groomed by this man.

Lauren started working with a specialist support worker from Safe and Sound who carefully helped her recognise the signs of grooming and talked about issues including online safety, healthy relationships and consent.

Lauren eventually made the link between online grooming tactics and what had been happening to her.  The support worker helped her to better recognise dangers as well as arm her with the skills and confidence to block unwanted approaches.

Lauren still enjoys interacting on social media but is far more aware of the dangers and is now clearly focused on her sport and her goal of competing in world-class athletics.