After CSE Films: Supporting children and families without traumatic imagery

Child Sexual Exploitation
Planning and Intervention Skills
Safeguarding: CYP
Direct Work CYPs

Posted: 01 March 2019

This guide is a free and accessible collection of ideas and advice for practitioners working in child sexual exploitation (CSE) and abuse. This guide for practitioners therefore provides valid alternatives to the use of CSE films in practice; both in one-to-one work and in school work with large groups of children. 


  • An introduction to this guide 

Section 1: Addressing the gaps in practice left by the withdrawal of CSE films 

  • The use of CSE films
  • Key issues uncovered by ‘Can I tell you what it feels like?’ report  
  • Responses to the #nomoreCSEfilms report in 2018
  • Gaps in practice caused by the withdrawal of CSE films
  • Having awkward conversations
  • Talking confidently about sexual violence 
  • Defining and explaining CSE and grooming
  • Asking the right questions to parents, carers and children 
  • Moving away from victim blaming approaches 


Section 2: Alternative approaches to CSE films

  • Utilising non-graphic resources
  • Drawing on the child’s existing knowledge
  • Third person discussions and stories 
  • Stories in the media Co-viewing and critical thinking 
  • Drawing diagrams and timelines of what happened 
  • Writing exercises 
  • Arts and crafts Developing emotional literacy and vocabulary 
  • Working ethically with disclosures 


Section 3: Delivering schools work without CSE films

  • Preparing the school for your session 
  • Understanding trauma triggers and effects 
  • Supporting children who attend large group discussions about abuse and violence
  • True or false games for large groups
  • Debate and discussions with large groups
  • Co-viewing exercises with large groups
  • Giving presentations and talks to large groups
  • Relationship and abuse Q & A with large groups 

In 2017, Jessica Eaton launched the campaign #nomoreCSEfilms to challenge the use of traumatic imagery which led to hundreds of people submitting written accounts of the harm caused by showing CSE films to children, parents and professionals. In January 2018, the report ‘Can I tell you what it feels like? Exploring the harm caused by CSE films’ was published with VictimFocus. The report was downloaded over 10,000 times and is still used to challenge the unethical use of CSE films containing scenes of child abuse, child rape, trafficking and child homicide.  In November 2018, national organisations, local authorities, charities and police forces began to withdraw CSE films from practice. Many practitioners reported that they had never practiced without the films and didn’t know how else to support children subjected to sexual violence without them. 

In the months following the withdrawal of films, many practitioners wrote to VictimFocus to ask for advice and guidance about alternatives to CSE films. A special thank you to all VictimFocus peer reviewers of this publication including Mark Monaghan, Sue Whitmore and Jaci Quennell. Thank you for your time and feedback.

For more info contact Jessica Eaton by emailing

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