Taken in isolation, any one of these signs could simply be your child or the child you care for growing up and becoming more independent. But if you’re concerned, find out more.


During the pandemic

We are all spending more time online for learning, working and socialising. This means that we are all at increased risk of harms that can occur online. More information is available on how to keep yourself and your child safe in the digital environment.

Are they suffering severe mood swings? 

Mood swings in themselves are nothing unusual but does gut instinct tell you the ones your child is experiencing are something different entirely? Many parents of sexually exploited children report that their child appears to have developed a completely different personality. 

Have they become unusually secretive?

Has your child stopped talking about their day at school or where they’ve been and who with?

Is your child late home or skipping school?

Has your child started coming home later than they were supposed to or even staying out overnight with no notice? Have they been skipping classes or missing school altogether?

Are they acting differently when they access the internet? 

Has your child started becoming overly protective of their phone, tablet or computer, as if they don’t want you to see who’s contacting or messaging them? Alternatively, are they avoiding their phone or laptop altogether as if they’re scared to hear from someone?

Is your child in possession of expensive, new things?

Things like mobile phones, iPods or jewellery that you didn’t buy them and that you know they don’t have the money to buy themselves?

Have their tastes changed suddenly? 

Is your child dressing differently – in a more revealing way perhaps? Have they started listening to a new style of music? Or swapped one friend or group of friends for another?

Do they have unexplained marks and scars?

Have you noticed your child trying to conceal unexplained marks and scars by covering themselves up or wearing loose clothing? When you ask about them, do they avoid giving you a clear answer?

Are they being picked up or dropped off by people you don’t know?

Abusers may groom young people by offering to give them lifts. 

Are they drinking or taking drugs on a regular basis? 

Offenders may introduce young people to drugs and alcohol as a way of controlling them and creating dependency.