Publication - Strategy/plan

National action plan to tackle child sexual exploitation: progress report 2016-2017

Published: 31 Mar 2017

Update on the action plan which was initially published in 2014 and updated in March 2016.

National action plan to tackle child sexual exploitation: progress report 2016-2017
The National Action Plan to Prevent and Tackle Child Sexual Exploitation Progress Report 2016/17

The National Action Plan to Prevent and Tackle Child Sexual Exploitation Progress Report 2016/17


Child sexual exploitation is a complex crime which happens in person or online or a combination of both. It can affect girls and boys from any background or community. Perpetrators are often well organised and use sophisticated tactics to manipulate children and young people and evade detection. Young people may not understand the exploitative nature of the experience until months or even years later which makes identification of victims more difficult. We know that young people who are sexually exploited are sometimes viewed negatively and that they are not always recognised as victims of abuse.

Definition of CSE

Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse in which a person(s), of any age takes advantage of a power imbalance to force or entice a child into engaging in sexual activity in return for something received by the child and/or those perpetrating or facilitating the abuse. As with other forms of child sexual abuse, the presence of perceived consent does not undermine the abusive nature of the act.

CSE Definition and Summary (in full)
CSE Definition and Practitioner Briefing Paper (in full)

The Vision

We want Scotland to be a place where sexual exploitation of children and young people is eliminated - a Scotland where children and young people are protected from harm, in a society that is hostile place for perpetrators and facilitators of child sexual exploitation.

Actions that will help take us forward in realising this vision are set out in the Scottish Government's National Action Plan to Prevent and Tackle Child Sexual Exploitation.

The Action Plan's Intermediate Outcomes

  • The risk that children and young people are sexually exploited is reduced through a focus on prevention and early identification.
  • Children and young people at risk of or experiencing sexual exploitation and their families receive appropriate and high quality support.
  • Perpetrators are stopped, brought to justice and are less likely to re-offend.
  • Cultural and social barriers to preventing and tackling child sexual exploitation are reduced.


Eliminating child sexual exploitation contributes to our shared vision of making Scotland the best place in the world to grow up in and to achieving the following Scottish Government National Outcomes:

  • Our young people are successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens.
  • Our children have the best start in life and are ready to succeed.
  • We have improved the life chances for children, young people and families at risk.
  • We live our lives free from crime, disorder and danger.
  • We have strong resilient and supportive communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others.
  • We have tackled the significant inequalities in Scottish society.

Action to prevent and tackle child sexual exploitation is set within the wider context of activity to promote wellbeing and prevent and tackle other forms of child sexual abuse, physical and emotional abuse and neglect.

Getting it Right for Every Child ( GIRFEC) is the national approach in Scotland to improving outcomes and supporting the wellbeing of our children and young people by offering the right help at the right time from the right people. GIRFEC puts the rights and wellbeing of children and young people at the heart of the services that support them - such as early years services, schools and the NHS. The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 includes key parts of the Getting it right for every child approach, commonly known as GIRFEC, including the Named Person and Child's Plan.

A Named Person will be available to children and young people across Scotland from birth to age 18, or beyond if still in school and is a clear point of contact that children, young people and parents/carers can go to for advice, information and support. The Act ensures a single planning framework - a Child's Plan - will be available for children who require extra support that is not generally available to address a child or young person's needs and improve their wellbeing. [1]


Email: Deborah Gallagher