Child Sexual Exploitation, Poly-victimisation and Resilience

Alderson, Kirsty, Ireland, Carol Ann orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-7310-2903, Khan, Roxanne orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3485-2450, Ireland, Jane Louise orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-5117-5930 and Lewis, Michael orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5567-3569 (2022) Child Sexual Exploitation, Poly-victimisation and Resilience. Journal of Criminological Research, Policy & Practice, 8 (1). pp. 53-74. ISSN 2056-3841

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Purpose: This research examined the prevalence of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and factors connected in a young adult population, through a series of connected studies. Each study considered exposure to poly-victimisation. The series of studies focused on a number of factors felt to impact on vulnerability and protective factors toward CSE. Specifically caregiver bonds, resilience, and attachment style, adolescent risk taking, quality of caregiver bonds, level/type of supportive relationships and positive schemas, as well as the impact of CSE disclosure and links to attachment style and maladaptive schemas. Design/methodology: These studies looked at a young adult population, mainly female. Study one (n = 263), Study two (n = 138) and study 3 (n = 211), predominantly collected via a series of online measures. Findings: Findings demonstrated that around half of children under 16 years had been approached sexually by an adult, with approximately one in four children subsequently exploited. Various results were noted, such as experiencing a primary caregiver as lacking in warmth and affection was associated with those reporting CSE, with further exposure to poly-victimisation contributing to a less functional coping style and insecure attachments. CSE was not associated with higher levels of adolescent risk-taking, poor bonds with the primary caregiver, fewer important childhood relationships and positive schemas. Originality: Findings were combined to propose the Protect Against CSE model (PA-CSE), and the application of this to intervention and future research is acknowledged.

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