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Gendered perceptions: what professionals say about the sexual exploitation of boys and young men in the UK Caroline Paskell, NatCen Social Research CSE.

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Presentation on theme: "Gendered perceptions: what professionals say about the sexual exploitation of boys and young men in the UK Caroline Paskell, NatCen Social Research CSE."— Presentation transcript:

1 Gendered perceptions: what professionals say about the sexual exploitation of boys and young men in the UK Caroline Paskell, NatCen Social Research CSE Research Forum 21 January 2015

2 Authorship and acknowledgements 2 The full study was a partnership between NatCen Social Research, University College London and Barnardo’s. NatCen did the qualitative research presented here. The study was funded by the Nuffield Foundation, an endowed charitable trust that aims to improve social wellbeing in the widest sense. It funds research and innovation in education and social policy and also works to build capacity in education, science and social science research. More information is available at The study was supported by a project advisory group including representatives from statutory and third-sector organisations and national government from all four UK nations, who povided invaluable advice, feedback and contacts.

3 3 Overview of full study

4 Understanding the sexual exploitation of boys and young men Objectives of qual element Researching what is known about male victim CSE Different data sources address different research objectives Interviews with professionals: ▼▼▼ Identify perpetration and victimisation processes apparent in male-victim CSE cases known to professionals Explore existing service provision for boys and young men at risk of, or experiencing CSE Suggest ways in which policy and practice may be able to identify and appropriately respond to male victims of CSE, as well as those at risk

5 Understanding the sexual exploitation of boys and young men Summary of all findings Similarities Risk factors Perpetration processes Complexity Diversity and range - models of exploitation Differences Societal perceptions of risk Disclosure Support

6 Understanding the sexual exploitation of boys and young men Service type and geographical coverage of qual interviewees Type of service London, SE Mid lands S West N West York Shire, NE WalesScot land N Ireland OnlineTotal CSE specialist Statutory Other vol sector Total

7 7 Key findings from qualitative interviews Extent of CSE of boys and young men in the UK remains unknown Professionals feel processes involved in young men being targeted and groomed by perpetrators differs from young women But professionals feel that risk factors and indicators are similar Professionals feel that adults perceive indicators differently for boys and young men Professionals perceive boys and young men as facing different barriers to disclosing their experiences of exploitation Professionals perceive boys and young men as having specific support needs, predominantly related to constructions of masculinity

8 8 Processes involved in exploitation Trusted friend Exploring same-sex relationships Female perpetrators ‘Street and party’ scenes Online exploitation Commercial sexual exploitation

9 9 Damaged, abused, tend to be abused, previously abused. Basically they are chosen because they are kids that nobody is going to believe. Service Manager, CSE service Risk factors and indicators Parents, typically kind of by the nature of how we socialise people, they’re not reporting boys missing the same way they would be reporting their daughters missing. So there is a lot more leeway before anyone would realise a boy was being exploited. Service Manager, CSE service

10 10 His self-harming pattern was to pick up a fight he knew he couldn't win so he'd get beaten up to a pulp, and then he would have that release and that he would feel better, he could cope better because he just couldn't handle the emotional pain. Service Manager, CSE Service His self-harming pattern was to pick up a fight he knew he couldn't win so he'd get beaten up to a pulp, and then he would have that release and that he would feel better, he could cope better because he just couldn't handle the emotional pain. Service Manager, CSE Service

11 Understanding the sexual exploitation of boys and young men Victimisation processes ‘Trusted’ friend Risk to GBTC young men Commercial CSE Female offenders

12 Understanding the sexual exploitation of boys and young men ‘Trusted’ friend Use existing social network or ‘shared interests’ to gain trust –Gaming, football, DVDs –Provide place to stay, alcohol and so on OR –Group/gang based (sense of belonging) –Edges of legality (counterfeit cigarettes, drugs etc.) Present as heterosexual –Encourage sexual activity (heterosexual adult pornography for example)

13 Understanding the sexual exploitation of boys and young men The last thing they are thinking is that the guy – certainly if it is heterosexual pornography as well – the last thing they will do is think they are going to abuse them. So it is a very clever ploy (Young men’s worker, CSE service).

14 Understanding the sexual exploitation of boys and young men Females as perpetrators Rarely perceived as exploitative –By victims, professionals or society –Enduring gender stereotypes: women cannot be abusers; young men are ‘lucky’ if they have sexual contact with older women Particularly hidden issue, examples of: –Older women in ‘relationships’ with young boys and men –Women exchanging drugs, money, place to stay etc, for sexual contact –Damaging and confusing for victim, especially due to lack of recognition

15 Understanding the sexual exploitation of boys and young men We’ve got to change that attitude. That’s a young boy. Now the young boy this is happening to, he has had a horrendous life, so he is just looking at that as his girlfriend. Somebody in this world that now loves him, because he has never had that. Is she exploiting him? Well, yeah. So what is that doing to that young boy’s mind? (CSE specialist police)

16 Understanding the sexual exploitation of boys and young men Risk to GBT and C young men Context of enduring homophobia –Few ‘safe spaces’ or means to explore relationships (literal and metaphorical) Isolation (particularly stigmatised among certain groups or circumstances such as rural areas) Unlikely to discuss with friends/family Internet contact Contact may begin as ‘trusted’ friend –Specifically exploring potential sexual relationship –Exploitative in nature

17 Understanding the sexual exploitation of boys and young men If you remove the abuse, then the young person has the opportunity to find out what their true sexuality is. And you can't confuse the two. You can't say somebody's gay because they're in a sexually exploitative relationship. Remove the sexual exploitation, then that gives them the freedom to make a decision for themselves what sexuality they are. (Specialist CSE worker)

18 Understanding the sexual exploitation of boys and young men Appropriately identifying and responding to boys and young men In the context of long standing gendered perceptions, practices and social attitudes

19 Understanding the sexual exploitation of boys and young men Gender specific barriers to identification Social attitudes GBT phobia ‘Must be gay’ Stereotypes Cannot happen to men Men are perpetrators CSE education Males lack representation ‘female centric’ Reinforces stereotypes Lack of knowledge about what to do/where to go Communication Assume males will not disclose Confusion over self identification Stigma Not encouraged to share emotion/ experience

20 Understanding the sexual exploitation of boys and young men A common thought amongst the public generally, thought amongst boys and young men [is that] to be abused […it] might say something about you and your masculinity as a boy, as a man – that you […] haven’t protected yourself, that somebody has had power over you. So to admit that, what’s that going to say to others? – you lose face (Service manager, CSE service).

21 Understanding the sexual exploitation of boys and young men What’s really difficult is we see a ‘victim’, but if the other professionals around see them as the perpetrator, it is what they’ve done wrong, whether they’re aggressive, they’ve been rude in school, they’ve assaulted a peer, there’s criminal activity – there’s all those negative kind of perpetrator labels [associated with boys] (Service manager, CSE service).

22 Understanding the sexual exploitation of boys and young men The instinct to protect boys is not there because they should protect themselves. It’s almost that that we’re fighting against (Service manager, CSE service).

23 Understanding the sexual exploitation of boys and young men Perceived gender specific support needs Sexual identity Support for all young men around healthy sex and relationships regardless of sexual orientation but ensuring all sexual orientations are included Expressions of masculinity Support to understand the different ways in which masculinity can be represented Healthy male role models Psychological needs Support to acknowledge the exploitation and find a way to communicate or conceptualise it Understanding of the different methods of self-harm used by young men and expressions of anger Criminal involvement Understanding of criminality as a response to trauma

24 24 Models of service provision for boys Gender- specific provision ♂-only spaces, peer support Activity-based engagement Individualised approaches Challenging stereotypes Gender- neutral spaces

25 25 He's not going to acknowledge that stuff verbally with us. So we have been a bit more flexible… [photography] was a way for him to communicate without him having to say it…boys seem to get so much more frustrated [than girls] quickly because conversations move at such a pace sometimes that they can't actually catch up and talk about how they feel. Boys & Young Men’s Worker, CSE Service Communication with boys It’s this perception really that boys don’t talk about things…that they deal with their emotions differently…Boys do and will engage and will talk about things and can become quite emotionally intelligent, if given the opportunity. It's almost as if there's an assumption that boys don’t and they can't and they won't, so they don’t offer it in the first place. Service Manager, CSE Service

26 26 Next steps Review how gender may obscure identification of CSE Review how female perpetration can be better identified Review how gender may influence vulnerability to CSE, as well as individuals’ responses and support needs Raise awareness – significant geographical variation Areas for further research: young men’s understandings and definitions of CSE, evaluation of approaches to service provision with boys, gendered understandings of vulnerability/risk and resilience, analysis of monitoring / administrative data to assess ‘1 in 3’ stat.

27 If you want more information or would like to contact us Dr Caroline Paskell Research Director, Crime & Justice T E. Visit us online: natcen.ac.uk All reports: sexual-exploitation-of-boys-and-young-men-in-the-uk/http://www.natcen.ac.uk/our-research/research/understanding-the- sexual-exploitation-of-boys-and-young-men-in-the-uk/ Summary: summary-report-v3.pdfhttp://www.natcen.ac.uk/media/530798/16134-su-cse-young-boys- summary-report-v3.pdf Thank you


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