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Sex Abuse. 2017 Oct;29(7):658-684. doi: 10.1177/1079063215616817. Epub 2015 Dec 2.

Immaterial Boys? A Large-Scale Exploration of Gender-Based Differences in Child Sexual Exploitation Service Users.

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1 University College London, England.


Child sexual exploitation is increasingly recognized nationally and internationally as a pressing child protection, crime prevention, and public health issue. In the United Kingdom, for example, a recent series of high-profile cases has fueled pressure on policy makers and practitioners to improve responses. Yet, prevailing discourse, research, and interventions around child sexual exploitation have focused overwhelmingly on female victims. This study was designed to help redress fundamental knowledge gaps around boys affected by sexual exploitation. This was achieved through rigorous quantitative analysis of individual-level data for 9,042 users of child sexual exploitation services in the United Kingdom. One third of the sample were boys, and gender was associated with statistically significant differences on many variables. The results of this exploratory study highlight the need for further targeted research and more nuanced and inclusive counter-strategies.


child sexual abuse; child welfare; risk assessment; sex offenses; victim

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