When a young person is being sexually exploited they may exhibit a range of types of behaviour or warning signs that might indicate that they're a victim or at risk of child sexual exploitation.
If you know a young person who is showing some of these signs and you're worried about them please report it now.
Appearance and Behaviour
- Physical symptoms (bruising suggestive of either physical or sexual assault).
- Evidence of drug, alcohol or substance misuse.
- Volatile behaviour / mood swings / use of abusive language.
- Truancy or a change in performance at school.
- Low self-image, low self-esteem, self-harming behaviour, e.g. cutting, overdosing, eating disorder, promiscuity.
- Physical aggression towards others.
- Change in appearance / always tired.
- Sexually transmitted infections / pregnancy / seeking an abortion.
- Sexually risky behaviour.
- Sexual / unexplained relationships with older people.
- History of abuse or neglect.
- Domestic violence / parental difficulties.
- Clothing - inappropriate for age, borrowing clothing from others.
- Reports that the child has been seen in places known to be used for sexual exploitation.
- Entering or leaving vehicles driven by unknown adults.
- Hostility in relationship with parents/carers and other family members.
- Reports to suggest the likelihood of involvement in sexual exploitation (eg from friends or family).
- Associating with other young people who are known to be sexually exploited.
- Inappropriate use of Internet - & forming relationships, with adults.
- Phone calls, text messages or letters from unknown adults.
- Adults or older youths loitering outside the child's usual place of residence.
Missing / Homelessness
- Placement breakdown.
- Persistently missing, staying out overnight or returning late.
- Returning after having been missing, looking well cared for in spite of having no known home base.
- Missing for long periods, with no known home base.
- Going missing and being found in areas where the child or young person has no known links.
- Petty crime e.g. shoplifting, stealing.
- Having keys to other premises.
- Expensive clothes, mobile phones or other possessions without explanation.
- Accounts of social activities requiring money.
- Possession of large amounts of money with no plausible explanation.