BASHH and Brook have launched a new child sexual exploitation (CSE) proforma, Spotting the Signs, to help health professionals across the UK identify young people attending sexual health services who may be at risk of or experiencing sexual exploitation.
Article 34 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states ‘governments must protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation’.
Spotting the Signs, funded by the Department of Health, allows sexual health professionals to use a standardised approach to pick up on the warning signs of CSE in all its forms. It is designed to be integrated into existing sexual and social history taking frameworks. Spotting the Signs provides a framework to support conversations with young people around CSE linked to latest research and evidence bases.
The guidance provides questions to help practitioners identify a young person’s circumstances or behaviours – including non verbal signs – that may be cause for concern and indicate the young person’s needs. It also reminds practitioners never to make assumptions about a young person based upon cultural, social or sexual stereotypes.
The proforma was written by Dr Karen Rogstad of BASHH and Georgia Johnston of Brook, and was developed with the support of a multi-agency advisory board and working group, including focus groups of young people from across the UK. The proforma is for use with young people under 18, and was piloted in a range of services including GUM clinics, specialist young people’s services and General Practice.