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Helping healthcare staff spot the signs of child sexual exploitation

30 March 2016

A new video aimed at helping health and social care professionals to spot possible signs of child sexual exploitation (CSE) is being launched today.

Supported by Health Education England (HEE), in association with the Department of Health and NHS England, the video presents a series of scenarios involving a young person potentially at risk of CSE and uses the voice of a real-life victim who talks about her experiences at the hands of a CSE gang.

The video also includes scenes with a community pharmacist, a GP, a community nurse and a paramedic, alerting them to the warning signs that may suggest an individual was at risk of CSE.

While the film highlights the issue of CSE, it also provides practical advice on what to do if healthcare professionals and others suspect a patient or person in their care is at risk and makes it clear that there is a responsibility to report any activity that they think is suspicious.

Lisa Cooper, Deputy Director Quality and Safeguarding at NHS England (Cheshire and Merseyside) said:

Professional curiosity is something that health practitioners have innately within them. If for some reason you feel uncomfortable or suspect that something is going on, it is your duty as that practitioner to ensure that you seek advice and guidance on the next steps.

In the film Nicki, a victim of CSE provides advice for healthcare professionals and other, such as community pharmacists.

Healthcare professionals have the power to prevent situations like mine happening again. That one phone call could take just a few minutes could actually save a child’s life.

Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Director of Nursing and Deputy Director of Education and Quality at Health Education England said:

CSE and the grooming of young people is an illegal activity and can have long-term healthcare consequences for the vulnerable. While the police and other agencies are working hard to clamp down on this crime, healthcare workers and other professionals who could come in to contact with young people need support and guidance on spotting the signs of exploitation. This video provides simple and straightforward advice and features not just expert opinion, but also insights from someone who has suffered at the hands of abusers.