WHAT IS CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION?
Child sexual exploitation can be hard to identify and a change in behaviour in a young person may often seem like normal teenage behaviour. But for some, these could be the signs of something far more serious.
It’s not always easy to know what young people are up to and abusers can be very clever in their manipulations.
A young person may feel they are in a loving relationship, while perpetrators will often seek to break the bond between the child and their family.
However being aware of the WARNING SIGNS and acting on them early can prevent abuse happening or escalating.
IT’S IMPORTANT TO STRESS MOST CHILDREN IN THE UK DO NOT ENCOUNTER CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION. BUT IF YOUR CHILD IS AFFECTED, IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO KNOW IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT AND YOU ARE NOT ALONE. THERE ARE MANY ORGANISATIONS WHICH CAN HELP YOU.
TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN
Children and young people need to know they can talk to you about anything. Talk to them about healthy relationships and what they can do to help protect themselves, if they are in a difficult situation.
Encourage them to talk about things that are bothering them, even if they think you’ll be upset or cross. Perpetrators rely on victims feeling shame or guilt to keep them silent. Be in the habit of talking to them about what they’re getting up to and who their friends are and reassure them it’s ok to talk to you or another trusting adult if they feel threatened or concerned.
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. Grooming is when someone builds a connection with a young person to gain their trust.
Talk about the sites they use and the importance of not giving out personal information or meeting anyone in person they have only met online. Discuss the dangers of posting sexual images online and of ‘sexting’ (the sending or receiving of sexual images via text message).
The following offer help and support on how you can keep your children safe
The internet gives young people access to a world of information, new experiences and a wealth of educational resources, however as a parent it’s important to be aware of the risks to going online. If you and your child understand them and can make sensible choices, they can get the most from the internet and stay safe while doing so.
TIPS FOR STAYING SAFE ON LINE:
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