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Can you spot the signs of child abuse?

Bucks County Council are reminding people what to look out for

Published by Mix96 News at 6:47am 18th March 2019. (Updated at 7:35am 18th March 2019) 4-minute read.

Can you spot the signs of child abuse?

Buckinghamshire County Council are calling for people to make sure they can spot the signs of child abuse.

The call comes to mark national CSE Awareness Day 2019.

CSE is a form of sexual abuse that involves the manipulation children under the age of 18 into sexual activity.

The aim of the day is to encourage all of us to think, spot and speak out against abuse.

What is child sexual exploitation?

  • Child sexual exploitation can happen when a child is tricked or forced into doing something sexual in return for something - like attention, money, drugs, gifts or alcohol
  • It is illegal, although children might not always see it that way because they are groomed and manipulated by their abusers
  • By the time the child realises something is wrong, they may feel trapped - too frightened or ashamed to tell other people
  • Online grooming and exploitation is another very real danger - helping young people stay safe on the internet is more important than ever.
Support CSE Day by wearing red on the 18th March

Fran Gosling-Thomas, Chair of Buckinghamshire's Safeguarding Children Board said:

"Grooming and sexual exploitation can happen to any child or young person, both in real-life and online, and it is vital that we can recognise the warning signs.

"The safeguarding of children and young people in Bucks is everyone's responsibility, so please stay alert to the signs of child sexual exploitation.

"We can all play a part in keeping our children safe."

#HelpingHands is a social media campaign promoting the day.

You can write a personal pledge on your hand, taking a photo and posting it on social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

This year you can also 'wear red' on 18 March to show your support and help spread the word to reduce the abuse of children.

Warren Whyte, Buckinghamshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Children's Services, added:

"If you see something that doesn't seem right, please don't assume someone else will report it.

"Contact our Children's Social Care team, or talk to someone about it. It could be nothing - but it may also save a child from becoming a victim of exploitation."

Signs to look out for:

  • Acquisition of money, clothes, mobile phones etc without plausible explanation
  • Gang-association and/or isolation from peers/social networks
  • Exclusion or unexplained absences from school, college or work
  • Leaving home/care without explanation and persistently going missing or returning late
  • Excessive receipt of texts/phone calls
  • Returning home under the influence of drugs/alcohol
  • Inappropriate sexualised behaviour for age/sexually transmitted infections
  • Evidence of/suspicions of physical or sexual assault
  • Relationships with controlling or significantly older individuals or groups
  • Multiple callers (unknown adults or peers)
  • Frequenting areas known for sex work
  • Concerning use of internet or other social media
  • Increasing secretiveness around behaviours
  • Self-harm or significant changes in emotional well-being.

How to get help or report a concern:

  • Call 01296 383962
  • Or email here.

If you think a child is in immediate danger call 999.

Alternatively contact your local police on 101 who will have a dedicated team you can talk to about child sexual exploitation.

Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board

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