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IICSA published its final Report in October 2022. This website was last updated in January 2023.

IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual exploitation by organised networks investigation report


C.1: Introduction

1. Definitions of child sexual exploitation are used by statutory agencies to identify children at risk of exploitation or those who have been harmed by it, and to determine the services and support given to those children. Definitions are also used to ensure appropriate crime prevention strategies and policing responses, to ascertain the scale of this form of abuse at a local and national level. It is therefore crucial that child sexual exploitation is clearly defined and that professionals from different agencies understand the definition and apply it consistently.

2. The evidence shows this is not happening. There is considerable and unnecessary disagreement about what the definition of child sexual exploitation should be, with definitions not fully understood or uniformly applied in practice. There is also no clear definition or understanding of the ‘networks’ or groups of perpetrators who sexually exploit children.

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