Being loved or being used?

Think about all your different relationships.

They could be with close friends, a boyfriend or girlfriend – and maybe groups of friends from school or the area you live in.

As we grow up, we develop relationships with lots of different people. It’s how we learn what we enjoy about a relationship and what we don’t.

But things can go wrong along the way and people might try to use you or force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Sexual exploitation

Some people form relationships with young people to use them for sex.

People who do this want young people to think they are a friend, or a boyfriend or girlfriend. They want to gain their trust to get power over them. They might also use bribes, threats, humiliation and even violence to get power over them.

They use that power to force them to have sex, or do sexual things, with them and sometimes with other people. This is sexual exploitation and it’s a crime.

It happens to boys and girls and can be really hard to spot. Often people think they’re in a good relationship, even after things have turned bad.

But there are warning signs. It’s really important that you know how to spot them so you can protect yourself and your friends.

Please read before watching the below video. The video contains graphic content in regards to sexual assault, child sexual exploitation and murder. Viewer warning is highly advised and the video comes with a trigger warning for the above. If at any point whilst watching the below video you feel that you would like to speak to somebody or need support, please speak to an adult that you trust; whether this be a local police officer, speaking to us on social media, a teacher, a parent or a friend.


Grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection with a child to gain their trust for the purpose of sexual exploitation or trafficking. Children and young people can be groomed online, face to face, by a stranger or someone they know. Groomers can be male or female and any age.

Stages of grooming:

Target you
Gaining trust
Make you feel isolated (alone)
Sexualising the relationship
Maintaining control
Worried about a friend? Spot the signs of grooming
Child Sexual Exploitation

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity. This is in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or for the financial advantage or disadvantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.

The models of CSE

Inappropriate relationship model

Boyfriend/ Girlfriend model

Party model

Gang model

Online model


Signs of CSE

Spotting Domestic Violence

Meaning of Domestic Violence - Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse: - psychological - physical - sexual - financial - emotional

If you think you are in a violent or abusive relationship you should reach out to family members or friends as they will be able to help and support you!

Useful Links

You can also contact the police by visiting your local police station or calling 101. Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers, which is free* and anonymous on 0800 555 111. (Put online reporting info)

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