Home Children and Young People Would you spot the signs that a child is being exploited?

Would you spot the signs that a child is being exploited?

by Gemma Melling

We all have a responsibility to help keep children and young people safe – but would you recognise the signs which could suggest child sexual exploitation?

Merseyside Police is working with local authorities including Knowsley Council to help raise awareness of this sensitive issue. Child sexual exploitation is often in the news but many parents and professionals are still unsure how to look out for the telltale signs of this type of abuse.

What are the signs to look out for?

You can help protect children and young people by being alert to the signs which can often indicate something is wrong.

A child or young person who is being sexually exploited may behave in the following ways:

  • Coming home with unexplained, expensive gifts such as phones or jewellery
  • Being defensive about where they have been, and who with
  • Using their mobile phone more or being secretive about using it
  • Having new friends – some of which may be older than them
  • Starting to miss school or staying out later than normal
  • Changes in their behaviour – becoming secretive, withdrawn or aggressive
  • Changes in their appearance – new clothes, hair style, more make up as well as cuts and bruises

Many children and young people may not understand that they are being exploited – that’s why we’ve all got a role to play in understanding the signs and knowing what to do if we have concerns.

Young person facing screensaver

Where can I find out more?

Visit www.listentomystory.co.uk to find out more about the signs of child sexual exploitation.

If you have any concerns, contact Merseyside Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.