Advice for parents
Worried about your child?
Child sexual exploitation can be hard to detect and abusers are very clever in their manipulation. Some young people won't even be aware that it is happening to them.
- Going missing from home and/or school
- They have unexplained gifts, expensive clothes, mobile phones
- Unexplained money, frequently taking part in activities requiring money
- Regularly using drugs or drinking alcohol
- Mood swings, aggression towards others
- Getting into trouble with the police
- Truancy or a drop in performance at school
- Self-harm e.g. cutting or eating disorders
- Change in appearance, or borrowing clothes from others
- Always tired
- Unexplained relationships with older people
- Staying out late, not returning home
- Bruising on their arms or body
It's not always easy to know what our children are up to or if anything is bothering them, but any combination of these tell-tale signs is a strong indicator that something is wrong and you should Get help.
Talk through strategies to help them protect themselves if they find themselves in difficult situations. Help them learn how to keep safe.
PACE works alongside parents and carers of children who are or are at risk of being sexually exploited by perpetrators external to the family. It offers guidance and training to professionals on how child sexual exploitation affects the whole family. Find out more at the PACE advice centre.
- Keeping it together: A parent's guide for coping with child sexual exploitation - this booklet provides information and guidance on some of the practical and emotional issues faced when caring for a sexually exploited child on a day-to-day basis
- Keep Them Safe: Protecting Children from Child Sexual Exploitation - this free, short online course is designed for parents and carers
Grooming and sexual exploitation often takes place online. Make sure you know how to keep your children safe online.
If you are worried about something that has happened online, help is available from CEOP..
Has someone acted inappropriately towards your child online? Report it to CEOP.
If your child shares something online that they wish they hadn't, they shouldn't feel guilty. Help is available from ChildLine, who can also help you and your child get the image(s) removed.
- Your guide to the social networks your kids use from the NSPCC
- Thinkuknow - advice for parents about online safety
- Tools for keeping your children safe online
- Be share aware - how to keep your child safe on social networks, apps and games
- Leaflets for parents - a guide for parents of children and young people who have got in trouble online
- Sexting advice for parents from ChildNet
- O2 and NSPCC online safety partnership - call 0808 800 5002 if have a question about parental controls, or concern about a social network your child uses
95% of young people at risk from sexual exploitation have gone missing at least once. Not all young people who go missing are reported missing. This leaves them vulnerable to abuse. Trust your instincts and if you are worried your child is at risk, contact the police.
- Thinking of running away? - a guide for children and young people on the risks of running away and advice on where they can find help
- What to do if your child goes missing - explains why children and young people run away and what steps you should take if your child goes missing
- What to do when a child goes missing - a guide for professionals