Can Child Sexual Abuse and Child Sexual Exploitation really be uncoupled?

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There is currently a consultation led by Government to redefine Child Sexual exploitation (CSE) – and they want it to be a subset to child abuse – thereby uncoupling  it by definition from Child Sexual Abuse (CSA)

You can read more about the consultation (not too many pages, so fairly quickly) at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/statutory-definition-of-child-sexual-exploitation

 

Whilst I welcome the willingness to consider the need for a CSE definition – I’m not in favour of uncoupling it from CSA. The reasons for this is that some of the children/young people who have been victims of CSE have previously been a victim of familial child sexual abuse.

I consider, and work on the basis that, CSE is a form of CSA – and not separate.

I am NOT in favour of the present proposal and consider an that the following is more appropriate:

“Child sexual exploitation is a form of child SEXUAL abuse. It occurs where anyone under the age of 18 is persuaded, coerced or forced into sexual activity in exchange for, amongst other things, money, drugs/alcohol, gifts, affection or status. Consent is irrelevant, even where a child may believe they are voluntarily engaging in sexual activity with the person who is exploiting them. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact and may occur online.”

The background to this counter proposal – is that the exchange of money, drugs/alcohol, gifts, affection …….. is common within ALL forms of CSA – and not unique to CSE.

The majority of the women who access specialist rape and sexual abuse services have been sexually abused not only within their familial setting, but also by others outside of the home. In recent years I and others have been concerned at the lack of focus on the overall landscape of CSA, as government continues to focus on CSE. I feel that CSE is an important subset of CSA & not a separate category under the general heading of child abuse.  If the government choose to make it so – I fear they will continue to ignore the needs of the majority of children/teens who are currently or will be future victims of Child Sexual Abuse.

If you look at the definitions of CSA & CSE  the one thing that stands out for me is that the grooming process involving gifts attention and affection appears to be confined to CSE which is simply not the case

Child Sexual Exploitation via NSPCC

Child Sexual Abuse Definition via NSPCC

I would welcome your comments

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