CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
Child Sexual Exploitation is illegal activity by people who have power over young people and use it to sexually abuse them.This can involve a broad range of exploitative activity seemingly 'consensual' relationships and informal exchanges of sex for attention, accommodation, gifts or cigarettes through to very serious organised crimes.
CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION USEFUL TIPS FOR PARENTS
The term ‘sexual exploitation’ is often used to refer to the sexual abuse of children during adolescence. This is the time when they are rapidly changing and developing, both sexually and emotionally. They may be dreaming of having boyfriends or girlfriends and, while they want to act like adults, they lack the knowledge and experience to recognise when an abusive adult or young person is taking advantage of them. All this makes young people particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation.
SIGNS AND INDICATORS
- Skipping school, coming home late or staying out overnight with no explanation
- Change in appearance, or overt sexualised dress
- Disengaging from family, friends and other support networks
- Becoming secretive
- Changing peer groups
- Unexplained money or gifts, including mobile phones
- Regularly going missing
- Offending behaviour
- Drug or alcohol misuse
- Being seen in different cars, perhaps with different older people
- Displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviour
- Having a much older boyfriend / girlfriend
- An increase in physical ailments and/or an increase in contact with healthcare
- Suffering from sexually transmitted diseases
- Pregnancy and/or terminations
There may be many reasons for changes in a young person’s behaviour, but if we notice a combination of worrying signs it may be time to seek help or advice
HOW TO PREVENT, WHAT CAN YOU DO :
- Know the signs – and be alert
- ‘Warning sign’ is another way of saying ‘opportunity to prevent and protect’. Acting on signs early can prevent abuse from happening or escalating. Look out for changes in behaviour and think about the guidance below.
Ensure lines of communication are open
- Children and young people need to know they can talk to us about anything that is bothering them – even if they think we will be upset or cross. Abusers often rely on the victim feeling shame or guilt to keep them silent. Be in the habit of talking to your child about their experiences, their friends and what they get up to. As children grow up conversations should include topics such as what are healthy/unhealthy relationships.
Get to know what they know
- At the onset of puberty children can find it difficult to talk to adults, particularly their parents, about sex and relationships. Parents can find it equally hard to talk to their child. Know what sex and relationship education your child is getting at school so that you can reinforce positive messages and fill any gaps
Know their friends
- Knowing our children’s friends enables us to monitor who is likely to be a positive influence on them and we can encourage them to take care of each other. Strong friendships also mean your child’s friends are more likely to tell someone if your child is getting into trouble. Secrecy around friends could indicate unsuitability.
Take an active interest in their online life
- Take as much interest in your child’s online life as their offline one because abusers can use the internet to groom their victims. Talk about the sites they use, talk about the importance of not giving out personal information and not meeting anyone in person they have only met online. Talk about the dangers of posting sexual images online, and of ‘sexting’ (the sending or receiving of sexual images via text message). See back page for more advice in relation to the internet.
Listen to children and young people
- Listen to children and young people and look out for things they may be showing, rather than telling. Off-hand comments could trigger a concern and difficult behaviour could be an indicator that something is wrong.
- Children are more vulnerable to sexual abuse and exploitation if their emotional needs are not being met and they feel they have no one they can talk to. Regular conversations give children the opportunity to talk about concerns they have sooner rather than later. You can use story lines on popular soap operas or news items to talk about sexual abuse and give your child the message they can talk to you about anything.
If you think your child is associating with potentially abusive people
Collecting as much identifying information as possible such as car registration numbers and descriptions of people can assist the police to intervene if necessary.
Keep a diary of events such as times your child has gone missing or unexplained phone calls they have received.
If a child or young person is in immediate danger, call 999 or contact your local police on 101 and ask to speak to someone about your concerns for your child. Alternatively call Children’s Social care Referral and Response Team on 01484456848.
You can also discuss your concerns with family, friends, the school or others in your child’s life.
Please also see our linked documents relating to PACE UK, BLAST PROJECT, NSPCC, BARNARDO’s and CHILDLINE for further advice and support.
Spot the Signs of CSE - download the information leaflet here
National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day - 18th March 2016
Please download, print and share these posters to raise awareness of the day.
Online CSE Training
Register for an account and log in - Kirklees Safeguarding Children Board Course Management System/available courses
Information and Advice
PACE UK (Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation) - For confidential help and advice, call PACE on 0113 240 5226
Barnados - 0208 550 8822
ChildLine - 0800 1111 or online chat with a ChildLine Counsellor by clicking here
CEOP has launched a new campaign around the awareness of getting parents and carers to use social media and the interent to talk about sex and relationships with their children.
There is a link to a short video below and also a page of information for parents at :