Below are three real life case studies based on Child Sexual Exploitation in the West Midlands, click on the links to read their story.
Lianne is 15 years old and up until a few months ago, was just like any other teenager. She went to school, hung out with her mates chatting about music and boys, and liked watching films with her big sister eating ice cream and chocolate. When Lianne met Sadie, everything changed.
Sadie lived a few streets away and worked in the newsagents. Lianne had met her a few times when she had been in the shop, and one afternoon Sadie invited her to go shopping with her. Lianne had some birthday money to spend and was looking forward to it.
They had a great time and Sadie even treated Lianne to a new pair of earrings – the ones Lianne had wanted for ages but her Mum had said were too ‘tarty’. Over the next few weeks, Lianne started spending less time with her school friends, and more time with Sadie. Her parents were worried because Lianne had changed – she had an ‘attitude’ and had started missing school and coming home smelling of alcohol. Sadie said Lianne’s parents needed to get a life and stop treating her like a child.
One night, Sadie took Lianne to a party. Lianne was really excited to go as her parents had never let her go to parties, She told her parents she was staying at a friends house and dashed out of thre house before they could stop her. When they arrived, everyone was older than Lianne and Sadie, and the party seemed full of men. Sadie got them a drink and they started chatting to some men in the kitchen. Before long Sadie disappeared into a bedroom with two of them men. Lianne felt really embarrassed, and was angry with Sadie for leaving her on her own. One of the men they had been chatting to took Lianne’s hand and started walking towards another bedroom. Lianne didn’t want to go, but they were all much older than her and she didn’t want to look like a little kid, so she went. The man raped Lianne –well she thinks he did, but she is not sure if it really was rape if she went into the bedroom with him?
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
Lianne did not give her consent for the man to have sex with her so it was rape. It doesn’t matter if she went into the bedroom with him. It doesn’t matter what she was wearing. It doesn’t matter if she had kissed him earlier in the night.
When Lianne got home, her mum noticed that she was upset. At first Lianne wouldn’t tell her anything and just got angry, but eventually she told her mum everything that had happened that night.
Mum called the police, even though Lianne didn’t want her to. The police took Lianne and her mum to a SARC (Sexual Assault Referral Centre) where they spoke to her about what had happened and took some DNA samples which could help with identifying the man who had raped her.
Lianne found all of this very uncomfortable but the police and SARC staff were really kind and made her feel better about things.
The man was arrested for rape and Sadie was also arrested because she had arranged for Lianne to be raped.
Lianne is still upset about things, and it will take a lot of support before she feels ok again, but she has gone back to school and is working with a social worker and a support worker who are helping her to overcome what has happened to her.
Rape is a serious crime and it is never the victims fault. Sadie was not a real friend. She targeted Lianne and groomed her by buying her nice things, treating her like an adult, isolating her from her friends and family and encouraging her to miss school.
Sadie took Lianne to the party to introduce her to the men. Sadie knew that Lianne would be raped. A friend would never knowingly put you at risk.
Brad is 15 years old and although things at home are tough for him, until recently the time he spent with his mates made up for it. His Mum didn’t care where he was, so he spent the evenings chilling with a big group of friends who were a bit older than him, smoking cannabis and enjoying a few beers or some vodka.
Sometimes they would go to one of the group’s flat and play X-Box or watch films or porn. Some nights he would stay over at one of the flats instead of going home – it was more fun and meant he didn’t have to listen to his Mum and her boyfriend arguing again.
Brad had never really liked school – he was always getting in trouble and found the work boring. Spending more time with his mates meant he was too tired to get up in the mornings, so he gradually stopped going to school. He also stopped spending time with his old friends, kicking football around was for kids and his new friends treated him like an adult. Brad knew that some of his mates were involved in dealing drugs on one of the local estates, and he had sometimes gone along with his friends to handover the drugs in exchange for cash. He had seen members of the group beat up people who couldn’t pay – like really hurt them. One of the older lads in the group asked Brad to look after a knife last week, which he was told to keep on him at all times. Brad thought this meant that the group trusted him and that he was really one of them.
Last night everything changed. Brad went along to a drugs handover, as normal, only this time things were different. He was taken into a flat full of older men. He was given a joint and some vodka and told to stay here and do what he was told. He felt uneasy, but the group were his friends so if they asked him to do it, then it must be ok. But is wasn’t. Brad was raped by the men in the flat. He was too scared to try to escape – he had been told to stay there and he knew what his friends were capable of if people didn’t do what they said.
Brad is too scared to tell anyone what happened. He thinks no one will believe him, or say its his fault, or think he is gay. He is even more scared of his mates and what they will do to him if he tells someone. They have already told Brad that he has to go back to the flat tonight.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
Although it was really scary, Brad told a youth worker about what was happening to him.
Because Brad was being hurt, the youth worker had to tell the police and social care about what had happened. Brad thought this would be horrible, but the youth worker supported him the whole time so it wasn’t so bad.
No one thought Brad was lying or made any judgements about him – everyone just wanted to help make things better for him. The police asked Brad if he would give them a statement about what had happened to him, but he was too scared.
The police were ok about this and understood, and allocated a police officer to keep in touch with Brad to check how he is doing, and to be there if Brad changes his mind and wants to make a statement. Even without a statement, the police were able to take action to stop the group contacting Brad or doing this again to anyone else.
Brad also has a social worker who arranges extra support for him, works with Brad’s mum to help her understand what has happened to Brad and leads meetings to make sure Brad has the support he needs. At first Brad wasn’t happy about this, but now that things are getting better for him he can see that it is a good thing.
Brad now realises that they were not really his friends. They were using him. Real friends would not threaten you with violence or make you do things that you didn’t want to do.
The group deliberately isolated Brad from people who could provide him with safety, like school, his mum and his friends.
Allowing a child (someone under 18 years) to watch porn is a crime. The group were breaking the law when they let Brad watch porn with them; it’s a sexual offence against a child.
Rape is a serious crime and it is never the victims fault.
Jasmine met Rikki online. Like most 14 year old girls she spent most of her time on social media chatting to her friends and making new ones. A new friend request popped up and he looked nice, so Jasmine accepted it.
She had heard from teachers and youth workers about how you should only accept requests from people you know in the real world, bur Rikki was mutual friends with some girls in her year so he was safe, right? Rikki seemed really nice, really mature and thoughtful –not like the boys in Jasmine’s year at school! He messaged her all the time, and he totally understood about her Mum being so strict and not letting her go out with her friends to parties.
Rikki says that her Mum needs to understand that Jasmine is not a little kid anymore and deserves to be shown more respect. Jasmine loves how much Rikki pays attention to her and compliments her – he says she is beautiful and he wants to take her out on a proper date. He even wants nude selfies of her, but she has only sent him pics in her underwear because that’s ok, right?
Last Saturday, Rikki sent taxi round to pick Jasmine up for their date. The taxi took her to a flat where Rikki met Jasmine. She felt a a bit unhappy as Rikki had promised to take her to a posh restaurant, and instead she was at this dodgy looking flat. When they went inside, Rikki gave Jasmine a can of beer and told her to relax. They sat chatting and after a while, Rikki tried to kiss her. She didn’t feel comfortable but didn’t want him to think she was immature or childish so she went along with it. When he started trying to touch her, Jasmine said she didn’t want to and got up to leave. But he made her stay. And he forced her to have sex. He told her he loved her and that she was special. She didn’t feel special.
On Wednesday, Rikki sent another taxi to collect Jasmine. She didn’t want to go but Rikki said he would tell her parents what she had been doing and post the underwear photos of her on facebook if she didn’t go. This time, there was another man at the flat. Rikki gave her beer and cannabis and then made her have sex with the man. He says another taxi is coming for her on Saturday night.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
Jasmine was too scared to tell anyone face to face what was happening to her, so she contacted Childline (0800 1111). The lady she spoke to was kind and understood and told Jasmine that what had happened was not her fault. Jasmine felt like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders, and gave the lady her details so that she could make a referral to the police and social services who could help Jasmine.
Talking about what happened was really scary and difficult for Jasmine as she felt like it was her fault, she was embarrassed when she had to talk about the sexual images and about when she was raped, but the social workers and police told her it wasn’t her fault and that she was not to blame.
Rikki and the man have been arrested, and although Jasmine is still really upset by what happened to her, she is feeling much happier and things are starting to get better for her because she is getting support from professionals and her family.
Rikki deliberately friend requested Jasmine in order to groom her for sexual exploitation. Just because someone is friends with your friends doesn’t mean they are safe. You should accept friend requests from people you know and trust – they have access to lots of personal information about you.
Sending naked or sexy images is illegal if you are under 18 years old. It is also not safe as you never know where they may end up or how they may be used. Rikki deliberately used them to blackmail jasmine into doing things she didn’t want to, he groomed Jasmine by making her feel special, saying nice things about her, and pretending to be supportive about her fights with her mum. He did these things to make Jasmine trust him and do what he wanted.
Rikki forced Jasmine to have sex with him, and with the older man. This is rape. Rape is a crime and is never the victims fault.
If you are worried about something you have seen online, or about someone’s online behaviour, you can report it through CEOP’s ‘Click CEOP Report It’ button