Child sexual exploitation is a form of sexual abuse where offenders use their power, (physical, financial or emotional) over a child or young person, or a false identity, to sexually or emotionally abuse them. Sexual exploitation is a real threat for children and young people of all ages and backgrounds.
It often involves situations and relationships where young people receive something (food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money etc.) in return for participating in sexual activities. Child sexual exploitation can occur in person or online, and sometimes the child or young person may not even realise they are a victim.
The Victorian Government is committed to keeping children and young people safe from sexual exploitation. The whole-of-government Keeping Children Safe from Sexual Exploitation Strategy aims to help prevent and protect children from sexual exploitation, and prosecute perpetrators who prey on vulnerable children.
As part of its commitment to the Strategy, the Department of Education and Training has developed a suite of fact sheets specific to preventing, identifying and responding to sexual exploitation (including grooming) for universal use by all Victorian school based staff, parents and carers, and young people.
These fact sheets complement the existing range of
Bully Stoppers resources, and professional development programs and training for school staff and allied health workforces that address issues such as
online grooming and
bullying already provided by the Department.
The factsheets include explicit descriptions of abuse and may be distressing to engage with for some people.
If you need to talk to someone, it is recommended that you speak to your GP or another allied health professional, or speak to a trusted adult.
Parents and carers including kinship, foster and residential carers
These fact sheets will help you spot the signs of sexual exploitation and provide you with guidance on how to best respond when you have concerns about your child's welfare.
School staff including teachers, allied health and other school based staff
These fact sheets will better equip teachers and allied health professionals to identify and appropriately respond to incidents of sexual exploitation of children and young people in their care:
These fact sheets show that you can play an important role in keeping yourself and your friend's safe by understanding how to spot the signs of sexual exploitation and knowing where to go for help.
For further information about the Department's resources please contact:
You can find links to other useful resources on the facts sheets, including:
Where can I get support?
If you are at all concerned about the possibility of your child, or student, being the victim of a sexual predator online or in person, please contact the Victoria Police for advice and assistance.
If you believe your child or student is in immediate danger, please phone Triple Zero
If you are concerned about online behaviour involving the sexual exploitation of a child or young person, you can report it to the Australian Federal Police.
Who can help?
If you are a young person and you are worried about what's happening in a relationship you should tell a trusted adult such as:
Or you could:
- visit eHeadspace (which provides an online and telephone support service between 9am and 1pm)
- call KidsHelp Line (1800 55 1800 visit the KidsHelp Line website for 24 hour web or phone chat)
- get independent legal advice from Youthlaw, Victoria Legal Aid, or your local community legal centre.