Together for Families has launched its latest awareness campaign on child exploitation with information about how to spot the signs and what to do if you worried about a child being exploited or ‘groomed’ by an adult.
There are few different types of exploitation, however, there are key signs that you can look out for that might tell you that something’s not right:
- Are they late a lot or not around when you expect them to be?
- Do they have unexplained gifts, or things like new clothes and more money than usual?
- Are they spending more time than usual on their phone, or using it secretively?
- Are they regularly drunk or taking drugs?
- Are they spending time with much older people they say are friends?
- Are they being picked up from home or school by someone you don’t know? Maybe someone much older?
- Are the into different hobbies and activities?
- Has the way they dress changed?
- Do they have unexplained bruises or injuries?
- Could they be self-harming?
It is important to reassure the child that they are not alone and none of this is their fault.
How can I get help?
If you think a child is being exploited or abused, help is available. You can contact the police direct on 101 or 999 if the child is in immediate danger. You can also ring Childline for help and advice on 0800 11 11.
If you would prefer not to speak to the police you can contact Children’s Services. The Team to call are called the MARU and can be contacted on 0300 123 1116 during the day or 01208 251 300 after 5pm and at weekends.
You can find more information here for young people over 14 years old explaining about exploitation and what safe relationships look like.