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Child sexual abuse

Children who are at risk of sexual abuse

You may be aware of a child who is at risk of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. Child sex abusers can come from any background, can be an adult or another child and are usually known to the child. There may be signs of abuse, for example, changed behaviour, or your instinct may tell you something is wrong.

Children or young people who sexually abuse others

'Sexually harmful behaviour' is the term used to describe children or young people who sexually abuse other children, young people or adults. The sexual abuse perpetrated by children can be just as harmful as that perpetrated by an adult, so it is important to remember the impact on the victim of the abuse as well as to focus on the treatment of the child or young person exhibiting the sexually harmful behaviour. Research suggests that between 25 - 33% of all sexual abuse is perpetrated by young people between the ages of 10 - 19 years old.

For more information, read the harmful sexual behaviours presented by children and young people

Sexual exploitation

The sexual exploitation of children and young people under 18 involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people receive 'something' (eg food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of performing, and/or others performing on them, sexual activities. Children and young people under the age of 16 cannot, by law, consent to sexual activity. Whilst they may legally give consent to sex over the age of 16, they may still be vulnerable to exploitation.

For more information, read Safeguarding Children and Young People Abused Through Sexual Exploitation

Organised abuse

Complex (organised or multiple) abuse involves one or more abusers and a number of related or non-related abused children. The abusers concerned may be acting together to abuse children, sometimes acting in isolation, or may be using an institutional framework or position of authority to recruit children for abuse. Such abuse occurs both as part of a network of abuse across a family or community and within institutions such as schools, residential settings, in day care, youth services, sports clubs and voluntary groups. There will also be cases of children being abused via the use of the internet.

Child victims of trafficking

Trafficking in people includes the exploitation of children through force, coercion, threat and the use of deception and human rights abuses. Children who are trafficked have very little choice in what happens to them and usually suffer abuse due to threats and use of violence against them and /or their family. Children may be brought into the country by adults who state that they are their dependents or are met by an adult who claims to be a relative. In some cases young people will have been tricked into a bogus marriage or offer of employment, for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

Who should I contact?

If you are worried or concerned about anyone under 18 please get in touch, it could be that one phone call from you could help safeguard the wellbeing of a child who may be at risk. Our trained staff are ready to listen to your concerns and offer advice and help.

Please contact the Bridge Partnership on 0161 603 4500 or via our online portal, which you can access below.

Children’s portal

If a child is in immediate danger and being harmed call the Police on 999.

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