Young people and sex

Barnardo’s has published Hidden in plain sight: A scoping study into the sexual exploitation of boys and young men in the UK. Key findings from the report include that:

  • Of the 9,042 Barnardo’s records for child sexual exploitation that were analysed, 33 percent of service users were male;
  • Male service users were 2.6 times more likely to have a recorded disability than female service users (35 percent compared with 13 percent);
  • 48 percent of male service users and 28 percent of female service users had a criminal record;
  • While there were differences between males and females, the research strands also identified similarities including experiences of running away and homelessness, being in care, and experiences of non-child-sexual-assault-related violence;
  • There are prominent routes by which males become victims of sexual exploitation, based on different types of relationship, including trusted friend, exploitation of vulnerable GBT and curious men, female perpetrators and commercial exploitation;
  • Boys are less likely to be identified as victims of exploitation;
  • Professionals’ attitudes towards boys and young men can be less protective than towards girls;
  • Male service users were more likely to be referred by criminal justice agencies and less likely to be referred by social services and education; and
  • 80 percent of male service users were referred to Barnardo’s services due to going missing.

To download the report visit

A poll of 500 British 18 year olds by the think tank, IPPR, has found that 80 percent think it is too easy to view explicit images online accidentally, and eight out of 10 young women felt that pornography led to pressure on them to look and act a certain way. For further information visit