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Children and Young People

Sexual Abuse

Worried for yourself or a friend? Call the MASH team 0161 770 7777

Sexual abusers can be adult males, but women can also abuse, as can other children and young people. The adults are not just parents or carers, sexual abuse often occurs within a relationship of trust e.g. a teacher, carer, family friend or youth leader.

Sometimes someone might touch you in ways you do not like. No one has the right to touch you in a bad way; or force you to touch them or other people. Some adults do some very bad things to children like trying to use them for sex. These people are sometimes called “paedophiles”.

You should always tell someone if another person is trying to get you involved in anything of a sexual nature. This might also include things which do not involve touching, like involving you in looking at or making sexual images, watching sexual activity or encouraging you to act in sexually inappropriate ways.

They may be grooming you in preparation for abuse and it can happen online. There are many forms of sexual abuse detailed below including Child Sexual Exploitation and FGM.

If you or your friend are in immediate danger call 999 and speak to the police.

Help, support and advice for children and young people can be found at

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

Child sexual exploitation is a type of sexual abuse and anyone under 18 years old, whatever their background can be vulnerable. You may not even realise you are being exploited, but you are being given presents or money for performing sexual activities or others performing sexual activities on you.

Sexual Exploitation can include a range of activities, from seemingly ‘consensual’ relationships and informal exchanges of sex for attention, accommodation, gifts or cigarettes, through to very serious organised crime. Do you think you or a friend are being sexually exploited? Click on the links for help and support or on It's Not Okay.

Have you been tricked into believing you are in a loving consensual relationship, been invited to parties with drugs and alcohol. Do you think you or a friend are being sexually exploited, well It's Not Okay for someone to manipulate you into doing sexual things for their own or someone else's benefit.

If you are under 18 it is called Child Sexual Exploitation and this is against the law. Barnardos has a good guide to 'Spot the Signs' of sexual exploitation especially for children and young people or try Think U Know which has very age specific advice and information to keeping you safe.

Some children or young people are groomed online or trafficked into or around the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation, which can also happen to young people in gangs.

Harmful Sexual Behaviour and Consent

Children and young people who develop harmful sexual behaviour harm themselves and others.

Harmful sexual behaviour includes:

  • using sexually explicit words and phrases
  • inappropriate touching
  • using sexual violence or threats
  • full penetrative sex with other children or adults.

Consent means agreeing to do something. When it comes to sex, this means someone agreeing to take part in a sexual activity. 

Many young people are unclear that consent is something that needs to be sought and given even in an intimate relationship.There is lots of help available about how to talk about sexual consent, and the NSPCC Healthy Sexual Behaviour  is a guide to keeping you safe and what to do if you're worried.

It is very important that teenagers understand that both people in a sexual relationship must agree to it and can change their mind and withdraw at any time if they want to stop.

You need to understand that consent is not just about saying 'yes' or ‘no’; many of the signs that a person is uncomfortable with something are non-verbal and it is important that teenagers look out for these signs. such as someone turning away from you, looking frightened or nervous, tensing up and pushing you away etc.

Sexual consent is something that has to be ‘got’ (received) as well as ‘given’.

If someone is drunk, drugged, un-conscious, or has been threatened or bullied then they cannot consent to sexual contact or activity, and sex without consent is rape.

If someone forced you to do something you do not want to do of a sexual nature, it is never your fault and it is not OK. You should speak to someone you trust if this has happened to you so that you can get help and support. (Talk to the MASH team on 0161 770 7777)

The age of sexual consent in the UK is 16, so sex with any boy or girl under 16 is unlawful whether or not both people have given their consent. A child under the age of 13 cannot consent to sex. Help, advice and support can be found at -

Brook Oldham Opening hours : Mon-Fri 10.00am - 5.30pm Appointments and Drop In & Sat 12.00pm - 01.00pm Drop In. (Closed Sundays and Bank Holidays)

Address : Positive Steps, Medtia Place, 80 Union Street, Oldham, Ol1 1DJ

The Underwear Rule

As it can sometimes be very difficult to discuss issues surrounding child abuse, the NSPCC has launched a campaign designed to help parents talk to their children about keeping safe. More information can be found by visiting the NSPCC website.


Children and young people can be groomed online or in the real world, by a stranger or by someone they know - for example a family member, friend or professional. Grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection with a child to gain their trust for the purposes of sexual abuse or exploitation. Groomers may be male or female. They could be any age.

Many children and young people don't understand that they have been groomed, or that what has happened is abuse. Early break have advice and information on online grooming for young people or click on the CEOP link below for more help, support and advice. CEOP also have a website 'Think U Know' with age related advice on using the internet and keeping safe.


Visit the websites linked for more information, advice and support.

Female Genital Mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the partial or total removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. it is also known as Female Genital Cutting , Female Circumcision and 'Sunna'. FGM is a form of child abuse and is illegal in the UK. Click on the title to go the the NSPCC  or on the link to download Greater Manchester FGM Information Leaflet.

Forced Marriage

A forced marriage is where one or both people do not consent to the marriage and pressure or abuse is used. There is a great deal of information about forced marriage on the government website.

Because forced marriage is illegal, it can happen in secret and can also be planned by parents, family or religious leaders. It may involve physical abuse, sexual abuse or emotional abuse. Childline webpages have help and support.

There are also specialist websites out their for victims of Forced Marriage and other so called honour crimes, such as Karma Nirvana who also have a freephone 0800 5999 247.

Child Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery

Child trafficking is a type of abuse where children are recruited, moved or transported and then exploited, forced to work or sold. Unicef works with governments throughout the world to stop the estimated 1.2 million children trafficked world wide each year. Children are trafficked for lots of reasons one being for child sexual exploitation, see above. Child trafficking is now seen as part of the modern day slavery occuring globally. For more information the NSPCC has a free helpline 0808 800 5000, visit the NSPCC website and they have links to the 'Child Trafficking Advice Centre'

Modern day slavery is not an issue from history or confined to certain countries. It is a global problem including the UK and is still happening today. The National government passed an act in 2015 and there was an awareness campaign, which was all about slavery and how we can all help stop it. There is a dedicated website working to help stop modern slavery in the UK called Modern Slavery, that has help for all victims of slavery. 

 Worried for yourself or a friend? Call the MASH team on 0161 770 7777