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Monday, 27 November 2017

Young seeking Childline counselling over sexual exploitation up by one-third

Written by Catherine Wyatt

The number of young people contacting Childline about child sexual exploitation rose by a third last year.

The charity delivered 3,122 counselling sessions to children and teenagers on the issue in 2016/17, up from 2,340 in 2015/16.

Young people access the sessions by either ringing Childline, or contacting them online for a one-to-one chat.

Girls were more likely than boys to get in touch with Childline about sexual exploitation, with the majority of contact being made by 12-15-year-olds.

The service, which is part of the NSPCC, said child exploitation involves manipulating young children into sexual activity, for example in exchange for gifts, money or affection.

It can include grooming, trafficking, sexual harassment or engaging in explicit activities online.

NSPCC CEO Peter Wanless said: "Whether child sexual exploitation is happening online or offline, groomers will use the same devious tactics to manipulate and control young people so they can abuse them for their own pleasure.

"It can be incredibly confusing and difficult for children and teenagers to realise that they are being exploited, with some believing they are in a relationship with their abuser.

"Our Childline counsellors hear about the guilt and shame that young people feel, so it's vital that any young person in this situation knows they are not to blame.

"We want young people to know that Childline is there for them, whatever their worry, to answer any questions and offer support and advice."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2017, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Chris Radburn / PA Wire.