Frontline support services for boys who have experienced child sexual exploitation: A thematic review of survey data from seven countries

Elsevier, Child Abuse & Neglect, 2023
Marie Nodzenski, Jarrett Davis

Child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) affects all children, but research on the needs and experiences of boys is lacking, support services are limited, and workers lack specialized training to meet their specific needs. This paper explores the perspectives and experiences of 404 Frontline Support Workers providing services to children with CSEA experiences in seven countries, considering trends and implications for boys.

A mixed-methods online survey of 121 questions explores characteristics of cases, perceived vulnerabilities, and gender-based challenges in CSEA response. A descriptive analysis of survey data, disaggregated by country, was conducted, allowing for a discussion of broad themes and trends.

Despite differences, participants described similar vulnerabilities for boys across these contexts, including poverty as well as sex and sexuality-related taboos, stigmas, and other gendered beliefs, which were perceived to not only increase vulnerability to CSEA but also complicate disclosure in all countries. The implications of these findings on service delivery and recommendations are discussed.