Key information and advice to members of the public around Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE). Key agencies in Cumbria have an ongoing campaign, to raise awareness of CSE, on Twitter. To follow the advice and information please search the hashtag #CSECumbria.
Anyone with concerns about child sexual exploitation can contact:
Cumbria Police on 101
In an emergency always dial 999
Call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111
Cumbria Safeguarding Hub on 0333 240 1727
Please remember that some children/young people show little or no signs, and some may display the indicators for other reasons.
Generally, a change of behaviour should make you question what is happening in the child/young persons life.
At the CSE conference in March 2014, Emma Jackson a victim of CSE explained that the public, parents/carers and professionals should always follow up their 'gut feelings'. It's better to be wrong than to have done nothing at all.
What are the signs you need to know?
- Repeatedly going missing-particularly overnight
- Coming home with unaccounted gifts, i.e. clothes, money, food, jewellery, drugs or mobile phone
- Having a relationship with an older partner with whom there may or may not be concerns
- Mood swings and changes in behaviour
- Excessive and secret use of Internet and /or mobile phone (potential grooming)
- Spending more time in their room and was accessing their computer late at night
- Having several SIM cards, frequent mobile phone top ups
- Being unusually secretive
- Losing contact with family and friends of their own age and associating with an older age group
- Unrecognised cars arriving at the home, especially at strange times
- Alcohol/Substance misuse
- Unexplained injuries
- Lacking self-esteem, leading to a change in personal appearance
- Excessive washing or bathing particularly when returning from missing episodes
And what makes a child more at risk?
- If they come from a chaotic or dysfunctional household
- A lack of friends in the same age group
- Confused about their sexuality
- History of domestic abuse or neglect
- Learning disabilities
- Have come into contact with other exploited youngsters, e.g. at school
- Have suffered a recent bereavement or loss
- Are homeless or living in residential care, a hostel or bed and breakfast
- Have low self-esteem or confidence
- Young carer
Top tips for online safety include:
- Stay up-to-date. Ask about your child’s new gadgets, apps and websites – it is important to be aware of new technologies and developments that your child may be using
- Set boundaries. Treat the online world as you would the ‘real’ world – consider what or who they may see, share and communicate with, as well as how long they spend online
- Know what connects to the Internet and how. Today many technologies connect to the Internet – including TVs and games consoles. Check how they are accessing the Internet – if it is through a neighbour’s Wifi, your security settings may not be applied
- Cyber-bullying can be very distressing and upsetting – talk to your child regularly about their experiences, both online and offline
Support services for Cumbrian parents of victims of CSE
Cumbria Constabulary www.cumbria.police.uk/cse
Say Something - National service providing young people with a means of reporting CSE through a free, 24/7, anonymous helpline. This service will not replace existing local services or existing helpline or service provision, but may generate additional information about exploitation in your area. ‘Say Something’ helpline - Call or Text 116000
Stop it Now! - a child sexual abuse prevention campaign. We support adults to play their part in prevention through providing sound information, educating members of the public, training those who work with children and families.
National Working Group http://www.stop-cse.org/
NSPCC - Identifying children and young people sexually exploited through street grooming
NSPCC - Puppet on a string - The urgent need to cut children free from sexual exploitation (PDF)
Know The Signs - Emma's Story - A Victim's Perspective of Child Sexual Exploitation
To report child sexual abuse content, or to find help for you or someone you know, contact these organisations:
- to file a police report, contact the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre
- to report child abuse content, contact the Internet Watch Foundation