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Understanding mental capacity
Understanding mental capacity

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3.1 Child sexual exploitation

Child sexual exploitation is defined by the UK government as follows:

Child sexual exploitation is a form of child abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual.

(Department for Education, 2017, p. 5)

Note that child sexual exploitation can involve anyone under the age of 18, even though 16- and 17-year-olds can legally consent to sex.

Activity 5 Child sexual exploitation

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes

Watch the animation below, which was produced by The Children's Society. It is about Taylor, the subject of child sexual exploitation. Note your feelings at the end of the video.

Download this video clip.Video player: Taylor’s experiences
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Taylor’s experiences
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You might have felt angry with Taylor's girlfriend, who probably is the same age as Taylor. It seems that the young people in the Squad, with whom Taylor feels safe, are older than him and may or may not be a positive influence.

Taylor believed that his girlfriend was someone he could trust, but she too may have been exploited or pressurised by others to persuade Taylor to provide a photo. Taylor's sense of self is likely to have been damaged by this incident and the circulation of the photo is now beyond his control. It could be a trigger for a deterioration in his mental health and his capacity to make safe decisions.