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Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

Barnardo's started working with children affected by child sexual exploitation (CSE) and abuse (CSA) in Scotland in 1992. Through this work, we have developed a good understanding of the diversity of both the children affected by and their experiences of CSE.

Our long-term vision is that no child should be affected by child sexual exploitation. We are working towards this through our direct work and our policy and influencing.

Our work

Our direct work includes equipping businesses and professionals with the ability to identify and take action to prevent child sexual exploitation; raising awareness among young people around CSE and healthy relationships; and supporting children affected by CSE to recover.

We are engaging in a number of areas of influencing work relating to CSE in Scotland, including:

In February 2017, we published a report with the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice on professionals' responses to young people's risky behaviour online. This report noted that professionals were unsure about ways to respond and how other institutions would respond, meaning that practice was inconsistent and not all young people were receiving best practice. The report was published alongside a literature review around harmful sexual behaviour displayed by children and adolescents.

More information


Barnardo's Scotland response to consultation on draft delivery plan for Equally Safe: Scotland's strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls (PDF) June 2017


Barnardo's Scotland briefing for Scottish Government Debate: Keeping Children Safe Online (PDF) May 2017


Joint briefing with NSPCC Scotland on Personal Social Education (PDF) March 2017


Picking up the Pieces: Support for Families of People Convicted of a Sexual Offence (PDF) 2016


Barnardo's survey on online grooming (PDF) 2016


Barnardo's Scotland response to consultation on Human Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy for Scotland (PDF) December 2016


Barnardo's Scotland response to Scottish Government consultation on Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Bill (PDF) February 2015


Responses and briefings prior to 2015 can be found here.

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