Key Messages postcards Significant factors
The research found only the following 5 areas that were statistically significant to CSE:
Previous experience of familial sexual abuse, regardless of gender. Emotional abuse for males.
Number of moves in living circumstances.
Primarily negative relationships with peers and/or no friendships.
- Positive relationships with peers.
- High number of agencies involved.
Young people participating in the research described how there are too many workers involved, and they find it hard to attach any trust to these relationships.
There can be too many people for a child
or a young person to have a relationship with. All of these people cannot feature as a ‘significant person’ in a young person’s life. Young people can get lost within this network of multiple professionals.
Having a supportive adult in their lives had the most positive impact for young people.
Direct work, such as spending time with a young person, engaging them in activities, or addressing their confidence , was also most likely to help. Sexual health work was positive for these reasons too.
Psychological counselling and healthy relationships or risk based work, need to be at the right time, consistent, and supported by a trusted adult to be positive.
There is a need to make sure that everyone is on board with how best to support and work with a young person. Foster carers, residential workers, and youth workers, can play an essential role in supporting young people, and should be a key part of that decision-making.
The young person needs to be involved, and feel informed and in control of what is happening. One professional who is most likely to have that significant relationship should coordinate that support, where possible.
Young people were angry at the bodily or behavioural attention they received, and the seemingly limited concern for them and their happiness. Too many relationships for young people can be centred primarily around their risk and their harm.
Support should be driven by a focus on wellbeing, understanding the things that matter to a young person, and on changing things for them and their circumstances.
Key areas that matter for young people are:
- happiness and wellbeing;
- strengthening relationships with significant others and key workers;
- developing relationships with peers;
- supporting or help developing interests, hobbies and involvement in activities.
‘Healthy relationships’ work or risk-based educative approaches to interventions for sexual exploitation do not counter the problem of CSE, when used as a sole intervention or response. CSE does not (just) stem from young people’s lack of understanding about relationships and risks.
This work should always be supported through 1:1 consistent work, and by work to address young people’s needs.