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Child Sexual Exploitation - risk indicators (Behavioural indicators)

There are a number of signs, symptoms and indicators which may alert you that a child or young person is at risk of CSE:

  • Staying out late or regular episodes of being missing overnight or longer without permission
  • Reduced contact with family and friends and/or other support networks
  • Multiple callers to home (unknown adults/older young people)
  • Evidence of/suspicion of physical or sexual assault; disclosure of assault followed by withdrawal of an allegation
  • Unplanned pregnancy; repeat sexually transmitted infections (STIs); terminations; high number of sexual partners
  • Peers involved in sexual exploitation
  • Exclusion, truancy or unexplained absences from school or college
  • Relationships with controlling adults
  • Entering/leaving vehicles driven by unknown adults or taxicabs
  • Frequenting areas known for known on/off street sexual exploitation (prostitution)
  • Children under 13 years asking for sexual health advice
  • Concerning use of the internet/mobile phone
  • Acquisition of money, clothes, mobile phone etc without plausible explanation
  • Receiving lots of texts/phone calls prior to leaving
  • Agitated/stressed prior to leaving home/care
  • Returning distraught/dishevelled or under the influence of substances
  • Requesting emergency hormonal contraception (the morning after pill) upon return from an unexplained absence
  • Inappropriate sexualised behaviour for age and development
  • Physical signs of bruising or bite marks
  • New peer groups
  • Significantly older 'boyfriend' or 'girlfriend'
  • Increasing secretiveness around behaviours
  • Change in personal hygiene (greater attention or less attention
  • Overtly sexualised dressing
  • Self harm and other expressions of despair
  • Evidence or suspicion of substance misuse/alcohol and drug use
  • Gang member or association
  • Risks associated with the Internet:
    • Grooming children or young people on-line for sexual abuse offline
    • Children viewing abusive images of children/pornographic images
    • Selling children or young people on-line for abuse offline
    • Making abusive images of children or young people
    • Viewing abusive images of children or young people
    • Access to contact sites; chat lines via the internet or mobile phones
    • Sexting
Last modified on 18 October 2018

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