There are certain things can put you or your friend at greater risk of child sexual exploitation. Disability is one of them.


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.

Research shows that if you are under 18 and disabled you can be  three to four times more likely to be abused than other young people.

If you or your friend has learning or communication difficulties or both then you may be at particular risk. This can be because:

  • You may spend more time on your own – although this isn’t the case for everyone.
  • Your parents may be very protective of you, meaning that sometimes you may not be so good at protecting or looking after yourself.
  • You might feel you’re not listened to or respected.
  • Family and friends might not expect you to have sexual feelings in the same way that they do.
  • You might not have had much or any guidance on sex or relationships that you can understand.
  • Your learning and communication difficulties can make it even harder for you to spot when you are being groomed or exploited.
  • You may feel you’re less likely to be believed – and offenders know this.

What you can do

To find out more, you can read our pages on what to look out for and what to do if you’re worried, as well as telling good relationships from bad and getting the right help.

Remember – it’s never too soon or too late to tell an adult your trust if you’re worried about how someone or something is making you feel.