Support for Crime Victims in Bedfordshire
Support for Crime Victims in Bedfordshire
Support for Crime Victims in Bedfordshire
Support for Crime Victims in Bedfordshire
  Call Services for Bedfordshire on 0800 0282 887
What is Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)?
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is a type of child abuse in which children are sexually exploited for money, power or status.
It can affect any child or young person – regardless of their background, culture, gender, age, or ethnicity.

The official definition of CSE is: “Child sexual exploitation 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 (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage 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.”      

Although CSE is child abuse, it is not an offence in its own right. The offences that usually form part of a CSE case include sexual offences, kidnap, torture, assault, and trafficking.

Child sexual abuse online
When sexual exploitation happens online, young people may be persuaded, or forced, to:
  • Send or post sexually explicit images of themselves
  • Take part in sexual activities via a webcam or smartphone
  • Have sexual conversations by text or online
Abusers may threaten to send images, video or copies of conversations to the young person's friends and family unless they take part in other sexual activity.

Child sexual exploitation in gangs
Gangs may use sexual exploitation to:
  • Exert power and control over members
  • Initiate young people into the gang
  • Exchange sexual activity for status or protection
  • Entrap rival gang members by exploiting girls and young women
  • Inflict sexual assault as a weapon in conflict
Girls and young women are frequently forced into sexual activity by gang members.

Signs, indicators and effects
Sexual exploitation can be very difficult to identify. Warning signs can easily be mistaken for 'normal' teenage behaviour.
Young people who are being sexually exploited may possibly:
  • Go missing from home, care or education.
  • Be involved in abusive relationships, intimidated and fearful of certain people or situations
  • Hang out with groups of older people, or antisocial groups, or with other vulnerable peers
  • Associate with other young people involved in sexual exploitation
  • Get involved in gangs, gang fights, or gang membership
  • Have older boyfriends or girlfriends
  • Spend time at places of concern, such as hotels or known brothels
  • Not know where they are, because they have been moved around the country
  • Be involved in petty crime such as shoplifting
  • Have unexplained physical injuries
  • Have a changed physical appearance, for example lost weight

Sexual abuse: signs and symptoms
Children who are sexually abused may possibly:
  • Stay away from certain people
  • Avoid being alone with people, such as family members or friends
  • Seem frightened of a person or reluctant to socialise with them
  • Show sexual behaviour that's inappropriate for their age
  • May become sexually active at a young age
  • May become promiscuous
  • Could use sexual language or know information that you wouldn't expect them to
  • Have physical symptoms
  • Have anal or vaginal soreness
  • Have an unusual discharge
  • Contract sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • Get pregnant

Grooming: signs and symptoms
The signs of grooming aren't always obvious. Groomers will also go to great lengths not to be identified.
Children may:
  • Be very secretive, including about what they are doing online
  • Have older boyfriends or girlfriends
  • Go to unusual places to meet friends
  • Have new things such as clothes or mobile phones that they can't or won't explain
  • Have access to drugs and alcohol
In older children, signs of grooming can easily be mistaken for 'normal' teenage behaviour, but you may notice unexplained changes in behaviour or personality, or inappropriate sexual behaviour for their age.
Groomers who sexually exploit children online may focus on quickly gaining control over a child rather than spending time building up a trusting relationship. The period of time between contacting a child and offending may be extremely short. (CEOP, 2013)

Local Listings
Bedford Open Door 1. Bedford Open Door
Bedford Open Door
Bedford Open Door is a charity providing free and confidential counselling to young people experiencing mental health issues linked to trauma, adverse childhood experiences and complex, chaotic lifestyles, often relating to abuse, violence and addiction.
Change Ur Life 2. Change Ur Life
Change Ur Life
Established in 2020, Change Ur Life strongly believes that everyone deserves to live a life filled with happiness, contentment and security. Our team have personally worked in this field for several years, supporting a large number of victims and as a result, have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience. It is for this reason that we have set up services that support victims of domestic abuse in their own homes and the community, with our vision of expanding services to victims of all crimes. We support everyone over the age of 17 years old, no matter what their gender, race or beliefs are, as we strongly believe that no individual should be subject to suffering in silence, so offer a friendly and non-judgemental approach with the mission to make a difference.
Home Start - Helping Hands 3. Home Start - Helping Hands
Home Start - Helping Hands
Home-Start Central Bedfordshire provides support services to families with young children in Central Bedfordshire and Luton. Home-Start is one of the leading family support charities in the UK. Since 1984 the charity has been helping local young children and their families struggling to cope with disabilities and additional needs, domestic violence and abuse, poverty, financial issues and unsafe environments and mental ill health.
Paws Protect 4. Paws Protect
Paws Protect
Domestic violence and pets can make for an unsafe situation, which is why we offer our Paws Protect cat fostering service. Through a network of cat fosterers, the service provides a retreat for pets of those going into a refuge until the owner has a safe place to live and they can be reunited.

All information between the cat owner and foster carer is kept confidential. Our fosterers do not know the identity or whereabouts of the cat owner and vice versa, ensuring complete anonymity.

While it is not possible for the owner to visit their cat while it is being fostered, the Paws Protect team visit the fosterer on a regular basis and provide monthly updates to the owner to give them peace of mind.

Paws Protect covers all the costs of fostering for domestic violence – including cat food, feeding bowls, beds, vaccinations etc so owners know their pet is receiving the best care.
Supporting Victims of Crime
National Listings
Barnardo's Barnardo's
Welcome to Boloh, Barnardo’s COVID-19 helpline and webchat for those 11+

Call us on 0800 1512605 or chat to us online

Are you a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic child, young person, parent or carer, affected by Covid-19? You can speak to us about your worries, problems and stresses during this time, and we can provide emotional support, practical advice and signposting to other organisations who can provide further help. 

If you’re a professional, you can also contact us to discuss how to support a child or young person they are working with.
CEOP (Child Exploitation Online Protection) provides advice about staying safe online for children and parents and allows victims to report any online behaviour they are uncomfortable with.
ChildLine ChildLine
ChildLine is a private and confidential service for children and young people up to the age of 19. The service provides support and guidance for children and young adults, on a wide range of topics including FGM.
CHUMS Mental Health & Emotional Wellbeing Service for Children and Young People provides therapeutic support in a variety of ways.  CHUMS has developed a unique service delivery model to ensure that children and young people are able to access a service that supports their individual needs. 
Crimestoppers Crimestoppers
Crimestoppers is an independent charity helping police locate criminals and solve crimes through anonymous reporting. The site also provides crime prevention advice for a number of crimes.
FGM Health Services FGM Health Services
FGM Health Services
This page provides information on health services for those who have been affected by FGM.
Freedom From Abuse Freedom From Abuse
Freedom From Abuse

Freedom From Abuse exists to prevent child sexual abuse through education and training and engaging with parents, carers and all kinds of organisations involved with children to give them the knowledge and skills they need to prevent abuse from happening.

Stonewall Housing Stonewall Housing
Stonewall Housing
We give advice about different housing related issues to hundreds of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) people every year. We understand what you, or your friends, might be experiencing. So if you need advice, contact us. You can phone us, or you can come along to one of our drop-in surgeries. Some of the housing issues we’ve helped LGBT+ people with include:

if you’re homeless or at risk of becoming homeless;
if your relationship with your family has broken down because of your sexual orientation or gender identity;
if you’ve been victimised or harassed;
if you need to escape from domestic abuse;
if you need advice about a dispute with your landlord;
if you need advice with your housing benefits.
The Coroners' Courts Support Service (CCSS) The Coroners' Courts Support Service (CCSS)
The Coroners' Courts Support Service (CCSS)
The Coroners’ Courts Support Service (CCSS) is
an independent charity founded in 2003. Trained
volunteers offer free, confidential, emotional support
and practical help to bereaved families, witnesses and
others attending an Inquest at some of the Coroners’
Courts in England. We can signpost people to other
appropriate organisations and prior to the Inquest
we can give you support and information via our
Telephone Helpline.
The National Association for People Abused at Childhood The National Association for People Abused at Childhood
The National Association for People Abused at Childhood
The National Association for People Abused at Childhood, or NAPAC, provides a range of services which offer direct support to adults dealing with a history of childhood abuse.
There are no national support services for this in our directory

If you are unsure whether you have been a victim of crime, please talk to one of our advisors on 0800 0282 887