There are a number of signs to look out for if you suspect a young person is being sexually or criminally exploited. If you recognise some of these behaviours then you should ask for help or report your concerns. If you can, keep a note of anything that worries you.
Receiving unexplained gifts/items.
Poor attendance at school or not going to college or work.
Increased conflict and erratic behaviour.
Irrational emotions and manic behaviour – ranging from extreme anger to extreme sadness.
Becoming emotional or moody.
Going missing or returning home late.
Being picked up by unknown adults in unknown vehicles, including taxis and delivery vehicles.
Returning home with injuries.
Speaking to people online who are unknown to them.
Signs of drug use or drug taking equipment.
Sexual health concerns.
Significant changes in presentation.
A lack of personal hygiene.
New and expensive clothing such as costly trainers.
Becoming distant from family and friends.
Becoming withdrawn from usual social networks.
Self-harm, threatening suicide or suicide attempts.
Excessive use of mobile phones.
Using multiple mobile phones and SIM cards.
Being secretive about their phone.
Concerns raised by friends, neighbours or the local community.
Expressions around invincibility or not caring about what happens – ‘others have their back’ and ‘what’s the worst that can happen to them’.
A sudden and over use of street language.
If you are worried about a child or young person you must report it!