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Child Sexual Exploitation – R U Wise 2 It? – P&C

Information for Parents and Carers

If you are worried about a young person, and think they are in immediate danger contact the Police on 999.

What is sexual exploitation?

A form of sexual abuse in which a young person is manipulated or forced into taking part in a sexual act, often in return for attention, affection, money, gifts, drugs, alcohol or accommodation.

Some young people may think that their abuser is their friend or boyfriend/ girlfriend. In reality they are being used for sex and the ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’ might physically or verbally threaten them and be violent towards them and may pass them on to other people too.

Sexual exploitation can also take place online and via text, without the young person being aware, for example, being persuaded to post or text sexual images of themselves.

In all cases, those exploiting the young person will control and manipulate them and try to isolate them from friends and family.

Be Aware: Signs to watch out for

Young people often show us rather than tell us that something is upsetting them. Sometimes things that seem like normal teenage behaviour could be a sign a young person is being sexually exploited.

  • Becoming withdrawn, clingy or unusually secretive
  • Unexplained changes in personality, mood swings and seeming insecure
  • Nightmares or sleeping problems
  • Running away, staying out overnight, missing school
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Talk of a new, older friend, boyfriend or girlfriend and unexplained money or gifts
  • Spending a lot of time online talking to new people
  • Losing contact with family and friends
  • Physical signs such as unexplained soreness or bruises around private areas
  • Or you may just be worried about unsafe sexual behaviour

Any one sign doesn’t mean that a young person was or is being sexually abused, but the presence of several suggests that you should begin to ask questions and consider seeking help. Keep in mind that some of these signs can emerge at other times of stress such as:

  • During a divorce
  • Death of a family member or pet
  • Problems at school or with friends
  • Other anxiety-inducing or traumatic events

How does sexual exploitation happen?

We know from experience that some grown-ups target young people and draw them into abusive sexual relationships. This is how it works:

  • Older adults show them a lot of interest and affection at the beginning, and make them feel special
  • Sometimes they ask groups of young people to come back to their house or go to parties
  • They are offered drugs and alcohol and a place to chill out
  • They may get presents like clothes, a mobile phone, or money to buy alcohol and cigarettes

After they have gained the youngster’s trust and affection, things change.

  • They will ask for sexual favours for themselves or other people, in return for alcohol, drugs, presents, money – all the things they started giving for free
  • They stop being nice and can become threatening or violent

How to get help

There are specialists who can advise you if you are worried about a young person you know. They can also talk to any young person themselves.

If you think a child or young person is in immediate danger call 999. Alternatively you can contact your local police on 101

R U Safe?
Buckinghamshire has a county-wide service for young people, Barnardo’s ‘R-U-Safe?’ which is also able to offer consultation and support if you have queries that may relate to a young person being exploited
www.barnardos.org.uk/rusafebucks.  Email: rusafe@barnardos.org.uk

RUSafe have also produced an information leaflet on CSE for Parent and Carers.

CSE Leaflet (Parents & Carers)

RUSafe? also work in schools using a programme called Real Love Rocks

First Response – Buckinghamshire County Council
0845 460 0001
email: cypfirstresponse@buckscc.gov.uk

Stop It Now
You can also talk confidentially about your concerns and seek advice from Stop it Now on 08001000 900 or visit their website http://www.parentsprotect.co.uk/

Video – can you recognise the signs?

This video is designed to help childcare professionals and police spot the early signs of group-associated grooming. It was produced by the Association of Chief Police Offices (ACPO) and the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) and features Eastenders actress, Shona McGarty.


CSE e-course for parents & carers:

Parents Against CSE (PACE) have teamed up with the Safeguarding Children e-Academy to product a short (20-30 mins) online course, looking at understanding and identifying signs of CSE.

To access this free resource, please click on the following link: CSE e-course

Useful websites for more information

Barnados – Sexual Exploitation page

NSPCC – Sexual Exploitation page

PACE – Parents against child exploitation (previously known as CROP – The Coalition for the Removal of Pimping)

Sexual Health: Bucks

Thames Valley Police


The Child Exploitation & Online Protection (CEOP) Centre

The Home Office: Advice for Parents & Carers on Gangs