There has been a 16 per cent rise in the number of counselling sessions Childline has carried out on the issue of child sexual exploitation, it has emerged.
The Annual Review reveals that Childline carried out 4,500 counselling sessions around child sexual exploitation in 2018-19 which is a 16 per cent rise on 2017-18. This breaks down as the equivalent of 12 calls per day to the helpline on the issue.
Peter Wanless, NSPCC Chief Executive said: “Sadly, we are hearing from young people every day who are being manipulated or blackmailed into carrying out sexual acts.
"The government must ensure teachers are confident to teach the new Relationship and Sex education lessons rolling out next year, and Childline needs more volunteers to make sure they can be there for every child who needs our help, at all times of day and night," he added.
The youngest child who contacted Childline about child sexual exploitation was just 9 years old.
In more than a third of counselling sessions about child sexual exploitation young people said they were targeted online - usually through social media or video games, and often by their peers or people they knew.
The Annual review stated;
- Children most commonly got help from Childline because they were forced to perform or watch sexual acts
- Some children were threatened and told that naked images would be shared with friends and family
- Exploitation featured in more than half of the counselling sessions about sexual abuse
- Some children who contacted the helpline had received gifts or affection in exchange for sexual activities.
The report also revealed that the number of children aged 16-18 receiving counselling for sexual exploitation had increased by a quarter.
The NSPCC is calling on the government to provide proper training to teachers so they can deliver effective and relevant lessons about healthy relationships, consent and sex; and support young people to get help from a trusted adult.
The Childline Annual Review 2018/19 also shows other major concerns around mental health issues, family relationships and suicidal thoughts.
Childline Annual Review 2018-19