Child sexual exploitation


Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse. Children in exploitative situations and relationships receive something such as gifts, or affection, by performing or others performing sexual activities on them.
Children or young people may be tricked into believing they're in a loving, consensual relationship. They can be groomed online or face-to-face. 
Online grooming can take place in chat rooms, through instant messaging, social networking sites or by email. Offenders contact many young people and communication quickly becomes sexually explicit which can involve sending sexually explicit messages, images and videos.
Here's Emily's 'look back' video which carries an important message. Please note this video is based on real events but the character used is fictional. 
Kayleigh's love story, is a film produced by Leicestershire Police, tells a story about aspects of the last 13 days of the life of 15-year-old Kayleigh Haywood.
The Leicestershire schoolgirl was groomed online by Luke Harlow, a man she had never met, before being raped and murdered by his next door neighbour Stephen Beadman. 
The film has been made to serve as a warning to children and adults of the dangers of grooming and sexual exploitation following Kayleigh’s tragic death in November 2015.
For more information and guidance on staying safe online for young people, parents and teachers, click here to go to the advice section below.
Tackling CSE and bringing offenders to justice is a priority for South Yorkshire Police. We are now operating with a deeper understanding of CSE. 

Here we will bring you updates about what we are doing to tackle CSE.

Some children are more at risk then others; it is the responsibility of everyone to spot the signs that a child may be vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

For information about all of the 14 signs please click on the link below:

Spot the signs 


Over the last four years, since the publication of the Alexis Jay Report, we have made significant progress in tackling child sexual exploitation but we understand more needs to be done.

More police officers and staff dedicated to tackling issues like child abuse, domestic abuse, missing people and honour-based abuse work across South Yorkshire and specialist multi-agency safeguarding hubs (MASH) are now in place in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.

In July 2016, a ground-breaking child sexual exploitation service was launched in Rotherham. Evolve, which comprises of social workers, police officers, a child sexual exploitation specialist nurse, a Barnardo’s project worker, and others, working in one place to provide support and protection to children at risk of sexual exploitation and their families.

Barnardo's also operates their dedicated ReachOut Rotherham CSE Service - an independent, preventative and multi-agency child sexual exploitation service. They work with schools, communities and local children to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation and they also take referrals if you have concerns for a child. You can make a referral by calling 01709 377 157 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm). More information about the Rotherham ReachOut CSE Service can be found here

On 30 September 2015, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings launched a review into South Yorkshire Police’s handling of reports of child sexual exploitation.

In March 2016, Professor John Drew published the findings of his independent review. His report found that “considerable lessons had been learned” and that there have been “significant improvements” since the Jay Report was published.

In addition, Operation Stovewood, the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) independent investigation into child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) in Rotherham, which was requested by South Yorkshire Police, continues to make good progress.

Operation Stovewood is responsible for investigating reports of non-familial CSEA between 1997 and 2013, the geography and time period covered in the 2014 Professor Alexis Jay Report.

The NCA is working closely with Rotherham Council, local health agencies, the force and other public and third sector partners to ensure victims and survivors are provided with the right advice and support at all times and that current safeguarding issues arising from investigations are managed effectively.

By the end of November 2017, Operation Stovewood had identified more than 18,000 lines of inquiry requiring investigation and had engaged with over 250 identified victims and survivors. There are currently 36 specific investigations within Operation Stovewood.

Operation has made 21 charges and three have been convicted at Sheffield Crown Court. Details will be published on the NCA website.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission continue to investigate a number of referrals from South Yorkshire Police in relation to its handling of child sexual exploitation. You can read more about this here

We are absolutely committed to working together to achieve justice, stop further harm and prevent future offending. Further down the page are some examples of recent court cases that have seen offenders of child sexual exploitation receive significant jail sentences.

To find out more about what the force is doing to tackle child sexual exploitation, you can read our frequently asked questions

This section gives you a break down into the number of referrals, live investigations and criminal proceedings currently taking place across the Force. We will update this section each month.

Referrals received monthly to December 2017

A referral to police is any concern that has been reported and can come from a number of sources including a school, social services or a concerned family member. It does not necessarily mean there has been an offence committed.

Officers fully investigate all referrals and where an offence has been committed, an investigation will be launched. In other cases where no criminal offences have taken place other agencies may offer support to the young person referred.  






Offences recorded monthly to December 2017

These are the number of offences that have been recorded monthly from the referrals received.


Number of charges and cautions monthly to December 2017

This shows the number of charges with offences committed at any time not just the ones reported within that time period. 


Live investigations

This is the number of investigations we have across the force at this time.



In this section, we will bring you news of people that have been charged or sentenced in relation to child sexual exploitation: 


Eight years in prison for Rotherham man who raped 12-year-old girl -  5 January 2018 

A 25-year-old man who was found guilty of raping a 12-year-old girl in Rotherham in 2015 has been jailed for eight years. 

Brett Ashley McLaughlan appeared at Sheffield Crown Court to receive his sentence. He was also given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life. Read more here



Liam Devere

Sheffield man jailed for 32-months for child sexual exploitation - 2 January 2018

28-year-old Liam Devere was jailed on Thursday 28 December for 32-months, after admitting sending sexually inappropriate messages to a Sheffield teenager. 

Read more here




16-years in prison for man who groomed victims across the UK - 15 December 2017 

Craig Lewis, 54, from the Lincolnshire area, was sentenced to 16-years in prison after being found guilty of child grooming, sexual assault and causing a child to watch a sexual act.

Lewis abused three victims from Rotherham, Grimsby and Oxford. Read more here




Man jailed for sexually abusing Rotherham girls - 27 November 2017 

A 20-year-old man has been jailed for ten years after admitting sexually abusing three young girls in Rotherham in 2015. 

Ben Chivers, formerly of Rawmarsh, Rotherham, appeared at Sheffield Crown Court to be sentenced after pleading guilty to rape and sexual activity with a child. Read more here


Shane Whiteley


Two more years in prison for Sheffield child abuser - 26 October 2017 

Shane Whiteley, 30, convicted of multiple child sexual exploitation offences in Sheffield and jailed for eight years in April, has had two years added to his prison sentence. 

Read more here 



Two men jailed for Rotherham child sexual exploitation have appeals rejected - 30 June 2017

Two brothers, Arshid and Basharat Hussain, have had their appeals overturned by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and Two High Court judges.

The hearing took place at the Court of Appeal in Leeds yesterday (Thursday 29 June). Read more 


Zalgai Ahmadi

 Rotherham CSE investigation concludes with 21st conviction - 12 May 2017 

 A 45-year-old man has become the 21st person to be convicted and sentenced for child sexual exploitation offences in Rotherham. 

 Zalgai Ahmadi, formerly of Rotherham, was jailed for six years and nine months after being found guilty of sexually exploiting a child. Read more 





Group jailed for Sheffield child sexual exploitation

Group jailed for over 40 years for child sexual exploitation in Sheffield - 28 April 2017

Four men and a woman have been jailed for 43 years after being found guilty of a series of child sexual exploitation offences at Sheffield Crown Court. 

More information about their guilty convictions and sentences can be found here




Men sentenced to more than 80 years behind bars for child sexual explotation- 2 February 2017

Six men have been sentenced to a combined 81 and a half years in prison for their role in the sexual explotaton of two children in Rotherham.

Read more 



Men convicted of child sexual exploitation offences in Rotherham

Men convicted of sexually exploiting Rotherham girls - 25 January 2017 

Five men have been convicted of mutliple child sexual exploitation offences against two young girls in Rotherham.

A sixth defendant pleaded guilty to a child sexual offence in a court hearing last year. Read more 



Gareth Kelm jailed

Man jailed for inciting sexual activity with child - 21 October 2016 

A 23-year-old Doncaster man who used social media to groom a teenage girl has been jailed for four years. 

Gareth Kelm, of Wordsworth Avenue, Balby, appeared at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday (Thursday 20 October). Read more 





Group convicted of multiple child sexual offences in Rotherham - 17 October 2016

Eight men have been convicted of multiple child sexual exploitation offences against three young girls in Rotherham between 1999 and 2003. Read more




Matthew Wood jailed for sexual abuse

Rotherham man jailed for sexually abusing children and women - 14 October 2016 

A 24-year-old man has been jailed for 22 years after admitting sexually abusing five women and girls in South Yorkshire. 

Matthew Wood appeared at Manchester Crown Court to receive his sentence after pleading guilty to 15 offences against five victims at an earlier hearing. Read more




Rotherham man given community order for sexual offences against girls - 16 September 2016

A 20-year-old man has been given a three-year community order after admitting two sexual offences against two girls under the age of 16. Read more 


Terry Gibbons


Barnsley man jailed for 26 years for sexual offences - 7 September 2016 

A man who abused two young girls over a six-year period has been jailed for 26 years after pleading guilty to 26 charges, including rape and sexual activity with a child. 

Terry Gibbons, 44, of Kingsway, Thurnscoe, was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court. Read more




Lee Hatfield, jailed for sexually exploiting teenager


Man jailed for sexually exploiting teenager - 5 August 2016

A 29-year-old man has been jailed for three years and eight months for sexually exploiting a teenage girl from Rotherham, as well as possessing indecent images and videos of children. 

Lee Hatfield, of Manor Close, Rawmarsh, appeared before Sheffield Crown Court to receive his sentence after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing. Read more 




Evolve CSE team launch, Rotherham


Transforming child sexual exploitation services in Rotherham - 4 July 2016

Rotherham is transforming the way it deals with child sexual exploitation and now it is delivering a ground-breaking service to tackle it. 

Evolve - the multi-agency specialist team tackling child sexual exploitation - moved into new premises in Rotherham on Friday 1 July. Read more



Global recognition for Operation Makesafe - 29 June 2016

The work of South Yorkshire Police and students from Sheffield Hallam University on Operation Makesafe, a child protection training package, has been recognised in a global study on the sexual exploitation of children in the travel and tourism industries. Read more 

Mark Richmond

Man jailed for sexually abusing child in Doncaster - 29 June 2016

A 27-year-old man has been jailed for four-and-a-half years for sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl in Doncaster. 

Mark Andrew Richmond, of Whitcomb Drive, Rossington, appeared before Sheffield Crown Court on Tuesday 28 June to receive his sentence after pleading guilty to sexual activity with a child at an earlier hearing. Read more 



Jason Madden

Rotherham man jailed for child sexual offences - 28 June 2016 

A 39-year-old Rotherham man has been jailed for 12 years, with an extension of four years, for sexually abusing five children as well as possessing and distributing indecent images of children.

Jason Madden, of Leopold Street, Dinnington, appeared before Sheffield Crown Court today (Tuesday 28 June) to receive his sentence after pleading guilty to numerous offences at an earlier hearing. Read more 



Stephen Smith

Man jailed for sexually abusing teenagers in Rotherham - 27 May 2016

A 44-year-old man has today (Friday 27 May) been jailed for ten years for sexually abusing two teenagers in Rotherham. 

Stephen Smith, of Creighton Avenue, Rawmarsh, was found guilty of ten sexual offences (seven counts of sexual assault, one count of sexual activity and two counts of sexual activity with a child) following a trial at Sheffield Crown Court in February this year. Read more



Owen Smith

20 years behind bars for Sheffield sex offender - 10 May 2016 

A 50-year-old Sheffield man has been jailed for 20 years today (Tuesday 10 May) for sexually abusing vulnerable girls and women. 

Owen Smith, of Hawley Street, Sheffield, was sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court after being found guilty of multiple sexual offences. Read more 



SYP Atlas Court staff receive Operation Makesafe training - 18 March 2016 

All Atlas Court and Crime Bureau staff for South Yorkshire Police, including call handlers and dispatchers, have received Operation Makesafe training as part of the force's continued commitment to tackling child sexual exploitation. 

Operation Makesafe is a SYP child sexual exploitation training package that has been delivered to a number of industries including hotels and bus companies. Read more 

Force to mark Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day - 17 March 2016

South Yorkshire Police and its partners will be taking part in a range of activities across the region to mark Child Sexual Exploitation Awarness Day 2016, which takes place tomorrow (Friday 18 March). Read more 

Six charged with alleged child sexual exploitation offences in Sheffield - 11 March 2016

Five men and a woman have been charged with 53 child sexual offences relating to the alleged sexual exploitation of a number of girls in Sheffield. Read more 

Man pleads guilty to child sexual offence - 8 February 2016

A 37-year-old man has pleaded guilty to a non-recent child sexual offence in court last week (Friday 5 February). 

Amjad Ali, of Broad Lane, Worksop, appeared at Sheffield Crown Court and pleaded guilty to sexual intercourse with a girl under 13-years. Read more 


Karl Astbury Rotherham man jailed for online child sex crimes - 4 December 2015

A 41-year-old Rotherham man is beginning a five-and-a-half-year jail sentence today after admitting contacting young girls online and sending them sexually explicit messages.

Karl Astbury, of Central Drive, Thurcroft, appeared before Sheffield Crown Court on Wednesday 2 December to be sentenced after pleading guilty to eight child sexual offence charges at an earlier hearing. Read more



Man jailed for Rotherham child sexual offences - 4 November 2015

A 32-year-old man has been jailed for seven years for multiple child sexual offences against a girl in Rotherham.

Daniel Raymond Cooper, previously of Drummond Road, Bournemouth, pleaded guilty at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday (Tuesday 3 November) on the second day of his trial. Read more

Archived news - 1 January - 31 March 2015

Archived news - 1 April - 30 June 2015

Archived news - 1 July - 30 September 2015

The links below provide top tips for keeping safe.

Advice for young people

Staying safe online (Thinkuknow)

Sexual health and relationships advice

Talk to someone from the NSPCC

Parent, carer and guardians advice and how to keep your children safe online

Teachers and other professionals working with young people

For advice on how you can help spot the signs and protect young people from being exploited, please click on the links below.

What can I do as a parent or carer?

What can I do as a teacher?

Anyone with concerns about child sexual exploitation should contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or call police on 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.

Say Something
National helpline run by the National Working Group Network through the charity Missing People call or text: 116 000

If you think you may be a victim and need help in Barnsley please call: 01226 438831

If you think you may be a victim and need help in Doncaster call: 01302 737200

If you think you may be a victim and need help in Rotherham call: 01709 823987

If you think you may be a victim and need help in Sheffield call: 0114 2758411

Support for boys and young men: click here

You can also report online through the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, click here

Everyday we receive many comments and questions about child sexual exploitation and the work we are doing. In order to answer these questions we have created a list of  frequently asked questions, which will be updated regularly.

Frequently asked questions

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