A THREE-YEAR-OLD child is being helped by a charity which supports victims of sexual abuse and exploitation.

Lifecentre, which has offices in Worthing, Chichester and Crawley and a helpline, has had an increased number of young children through its doors, director Maggie Ellis said.

The news comes as Friday marked child sexual exploitation (CSE) awareness day and Sussex Police launch the final phase of a three-month long campaign to tackle the crime.

The psychosexual therapist said: “We are seeing a real spread of ages but finding increasingly young children coming to us. Three is very young of course.

“Seeing three to five-year-olds is a terrible indictment of our society. It is absolutely despicable.”

Ms Ellis said the huge media coverage since the Jimmy Savile scandal prompted a surge in reporting and gave people confidence they would be believed by the courts and police.

She said: “Every person has a responsibility to protect a child from exploitation. We must not be the society we were under Jimmy Savile.

"People suspected or even knew but washed their hands of it. It was only a few years ago, we must be different.”

Sussex Police’s Stop CSE campaign spent £20,359 on advertising and the police and crime commissioner has spent £6,968 on educating people on the warning signs to stop abusers in their tracks.

Five staff members are working on the campaign with money set aside from the force’s corporate communications budget.

Billboards and adverts have appeared in Brighton and towns across Sussex as well as in stations and on Southern Railway trains.

They have also appeared near schools.

Police have urged parents to talk with their children about who they are interacting with online.

Officers have also given advice to teachers and nurses and spoken to children.

Next month police will speak to taxi drivers and hotel and guest house owners to help them identify victims.

Campaign leader Detective Superintendent Jason Tingley said the force was currently aware of 141 victims or potential CSE victims across Sussex and 42 suspected perpetrators.

In 2014 police received 324 reports of CSE or referrals, rising to 828 last year.

There were 41 crimes recorded specifically as CSE in 2015, half of which were carried out online.

Det supt Tingley said the rise was down to the “Savile effect” and an improvement in identifying the characteristics. Police are already prosecuting 12 of those cases, 23 are still under investigation but six had insufficient evidence to proceed.

He said: “Our campaign particularly focuses on protecting the vulnerable who could be most at risk of CSE. This could be children who regularly go missing.”

Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards (LSCB) in East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton are working with the police.


STRIPPED of self-confidence, ashamed and fearful of trusting anyone.

These are some of the biggest effects sexual exploitation has on a child.

Psychosexual therapist Maggie Ellis, director of Lifecentre which supports victims of all kinds of sexual abuse including rape and CSE, said it takes time and the work of experienced and accomplished specialist counsellors for children to feel safe again.

They work with police on investigations and prepare a child for court.

“It has a devastating effect on their confidence and ability to trust other people again as well as trust in their own instincts,” she said.

The charity, which has three centres in West Sussex and a helpline for people of all ages, encourages children to take part in play activities while they talk to counsellors so they feel comfortable.

“One little girl thought because the police kept visiting she was the naughty one. Through the play and the art what’s inside starts coming out – their fears and worries. The counsellors are trained to work with trauma and help the child process what has happened.”

In March last year, in the first case of its kind in Sussex, four men were jailed after a vulnerable schoolgirl was forced into prostitution when she ran away from home.

In May 2013 the then 16-year-old packed her bag and headed for a bus stop in Brighton after rowing with her father.

She had rowed with her father – a regular occurrence.

Her home life was turbulent and her parents had split up, she had fallen in with the wrong crowd at school and had threatened to leave home more than once, Hove Crown Court heard.

Her father, fearing another messy confrontation, decided not to force her to come home, hoping she would return of her own accord.

Instead the girl, who had special needs and mental health problems, sat alone on the pavement when she arrived by bus in Eastbourne.

Christopher Kayla-Joseph – 27 at the time the case concluded – started talking to her and listened to her woes before inviting her to his flat in Elphick Road, Newhaven.

They drank whisky and smoked cannabis before he told her to get on the bed and he had sex with her.

She complied, “not wanting to upset him”. Later they went to McDonald’s and she stayed the night.

In the morning she went to school as normal. Teachers noted she looked awful but she said nothing and returned to his flat.

Over the next few days he manipulated her with sex, drugs and alcohol before she was introduced to two men who paid to sexually abuse her.

On Monday, June 3, he offered her cocaine and took her to the home of Mohammed Kamali, 46, in Harper Road, Newhaven.

There Stephen Daramola, 48, sexually assaulted her and gave her £40, which Kayla-Joseph later took.

Next she was handed to Khosrow Sobhanieh, 56, of North Lane, Guestling, with the words “she’s for you”. He raped her once and tried to rape her again, before he gave

Kayla-Joseph £60.

The still-drunk teenager managed to get back to Brighton and told her friends some of what had happened. But two days later she was back in contact with the men.

She eventually revealed all to her NHS health worker who told her mother and the police were called.

Officers worked for more than a year to gather evidence and she took to the witness stand in court behind a screen.

Kayla-Joseph was described as the prime mover in the exploitation but all four were complicit and were unanimously convicted of conspiring to arrange the prostitution of a child in the landmark case. Two other men were cleared.

Sobhanieh was convicted of rape and attempted rape. He previously admitted unlawfully possessing a firearm and was jailed for 14 years.

Daramola, of Park Lane, Eastbourne, was also convicted of sexual assault and jailed for six years.

Kayla-Joseph and Kamali were both also convicted of supplying cocaine and jailed for five years each.

Judge Richard Hayward said they showed no remorse and prosecutor Richard Barton said it was a “vivid illustration of how a young, vulnerable girl can be exploited so very easily by older men for their own sexual gratification and monetary gain”.

NSPCC figures released this month showed 1,212 child sex offences were reported to Sussex Police between April 2014 and April 2015 – up from 838 the previous year.

The statistics show 338 victims were under 10 and 92 of them too young to go to school.


DETECTIVE Superintendent Jason Tingley, head of public protection at Sussex Police, has been an officer for 26 years.

As well as leading the Stop Child Sexual Exploitation campaign, he is the force’s representative in the Goddard Inquiry – the independent investigation into how authorities dealt with child sex abuse claims.

Last week it started to look at the Anglican Church, what church figures and authorities knew about convicted child sex offender bishop Peter Ball and the workings of the Diocese of Chichester will be investigated.

What prompted a child sexual exploitation campaign now?

It’s very prevalent in policing at the moment nationally. The Savile effect has made the police and authorities step up and victims have more confidence in reporting. We have seen that increase in reporting and some of the crimes are historic. We have done smaller campaigns since 2014 but I was very keen on a planned approach.

This is about looking out for the vulnerable, children and the elderly who may not be a victim yet but could become one. Missing children could put themselves at risk. It is also recognition that CSE is not just about sexual assault, it can include other crimes like trafficking – between local towns and not necessarily internationally – drugs and alcohol abuse, blackmail and grooming.

What trends of CSE are you seeing in Sussex? Who are the typical perpetrators?

Commonly it is older men against vulnerable young girls but it can be boys who find it hard to come forward. It can involve drug gangs who operate out of London or city centres. Girls and boys get caught up in drug running for them and owe money. We are also seeing 17-year-olds who are still in school or college and can legally consent to sex but are still young enough to become victims of CSE. The main theme is respect. There are definitely young men out there who have difficulty respecting women and girls. They think it is their right as opposed to being in a loving relationship. This can be a cultural difference where things are seen through a different lens, or down to role models and parents teaching respect. This could be an older boyfriend asking for selfies, asking the girl to have sex with friends. We’ve had examples of a man making contact on Facebook and using a friends list to target a number of other girls.

Online crime is something we will need to tackle in the future and look at how we monitor that.


CHILD sexual exploitation (CSE) is a form of abuse. Victims under the age of 18 are affected physically and emotionally when they are exploited in return for sexual favours and activity.

Abusers become powerful through romance or friendship to groom and sexually assault victims. As the exploitation escalates, Threats can be used to make the children compliant.

Vulnerable children are targeted and may not realise they have become a victim of a criminal offence. Many believe their relationship is consensual.

The warning signs are:

  • A young person receiving unexplained gifts, money, food.
  • Using a mobile phone secretively.
  • Having significantly older friends.
  • Being picked up from home or school by someone the parent does not know.
  • Involvement with other vulnerable people.
  • Going missing regularly or playing truant from school.
  • Sexually-transmitted infection.
  • Self-harm.
  • Change in appearance.

Report CSE and help victims by: Calling Sussex Police on 101, Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or visit safespacesussex.org.uk and sussex.police.uk/cse

Visit a Lifecentre, which supports survivors of rape and sexual abuse. It has centres in Worthing, Chichester and Crawley and a helpline on 0808 802 0808. Text 07717 989 022 or visit lifecentre.uk.com