Community safety

Signs of Child Sexual Exploitation

Signs to look out for

  • Missing from home or care
  • Absent from school
  • Living in a chaotic or dysfunctional household
  • History of abuse
  • Gang Association
  • Receipt of gifts from unknown sources
  • Drug/alcohol misuse
  • Repeat sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy and terminations
  • Physical injuries
  • Evidence of sexual bullying and/or vulnerability through the internet and/or social networking sites
  • Poor mental health/self-harm/thoughts of or attempts at suicide
  • Involvement in offending
  • Getting others involved in exploitative situations

Typical vulnerabilities in children prior to abuse

  • Living in a chaotic or dysfunctional household
  • History of abuse
  • Recent bereavement or loss
  • Gang association either through their relatives, peers or intimate relationships
  • Attending school with young people who are sexually exploited
  • Learning disabilities
  • Unsure about their sexual orientation or unable to disclose sexual orientation to their families
  • Friends with young people who are sexually exploited
  • Homeless
  • Lacking friends from the same age group
  • Living in a ‘gang’ neighbourhood
  • Living in residential care
  • Living in a hostel, bed and breakfast accommodation or a foyer
  • Low self-esteem or self confidence
  • Young carer

Signs and behaviours being seen in children who are already being exploited

  • Missing from home or care
  • Physical injuries
  • Drug or alcohol misuse
  • Involvement in offending
  • Repeat sexually-transmitted infections, pregnancy or terminations
  • Absent from school
  • Evidence of sexual bullying and/or vulnerability through the internet and/or social networking sites
  • Estranged from their family
  • Receipt of gifts from unknown sources
  • Getting others involved in exploitative situations
  • Poor mental health
  • Self-harm
  • Thoughts of or attempts at suicide
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