More about the warning signs

Parents and carers

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. 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.

  • Bruising on their arms or body
  • Regularly using drugs or drinking alcohol
  • Mood swings, aggression towards others
  • 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
  • They have unexplained gifts, expensive clothes, mobile phones
  • Unexplained money, frequently taking part in activities requiring money
  • Unknown vehicles dropping the young person off
  • Unknown friends on their social media sites
  • Secretive phonecalls and internet use
  • If you know and see the signs you can help your child.

Child Exploitation Internet Safety

In today’s digital-age children are becoming more and more active online. One main reason is to access social media. Young people use social networking sites on a day-to-day basis to share photos, connect with friends and much more.

This increase in activity has made it harder for parents and guardians to keep track of what their children are accessing online. While some Child Exploitation victims are targeted through social media, here are some useful tips of how to keep your child safe online:

  • Check their profile settings – some children may think their online profiles are set to private; however sometimes this is only partial privacy. Make sure to check the ‘settings’ sections of online profiles to enable maximum privacy.
  • Nothing is completely hidden online – remind your child that anything that goes on the internet isn’t totally hidden and, if it’s private or personal, it shouldn’t go online.
  • Unknown ‘friends’ – sometimes your child may receive a ‘friend’ request or someone trying to engage with them online who they don’t know. It is important not to talk to anyone who is unfamiliar.
  • Talk about online activity – openly talk about online activity with your child. If they think you are being invasive, calmly explain the dangers social media can some pose.

For more information and tips of how to ensure your child is safe online, visit: or

Teach them

Teach your children about healthy relationships. Talk through strategies to help them protect themselves if they find themselves in difficult situations. Help them learn how to keep safe.

Pace – parents against child sexual exploitation

Pace works alongside parents and carers of children who are – or are at risk of being – sexually exploited by perpetrators external to the family. They offer guidance and training to professionals on how child sexual exploitation affects the whole family.

Report it

If you are concerned about your child, call one of the numbers below.

Child exploitation is a crime

You are not alone, there are specially trained professionals that help support you and your family.

Call the
National anonymous
CSE helpline on

116 000
Report child abuse to the
Police by
dialling 101
or anonymously to
Crimestoppers on
0800 555 111
If you or someone you
know is in
immediate danger
dial 999