Friend’s advice for spotting the signs of CSE

I really wish I knew earlier what was happening to Alice. I mean, I saw the signs but I didn’t think anything like this was happen to her. I just thought she was ditching us as she’d found a new group – although they all seemed a lot older. I felt really upset and I remember feeling worried about her but didn’t think to speak to someone. I should have done, maybe all the bad stuff wouldn’t have happened to her.
I never thought something like this would happen to someone I knew, but it did. It’s closer than you think. I found this list of signs to spot really useful; as a friend you are most likely to spot them:
  •  Acting secretively
  •  Having mood swings or changes in behaviour or emotional wellbeing
  •  They’re absent or truant from school or show a lack of interest or sudden poor performance
  •  Going missing or regularly coming home late
  •  Coming home with unexplained or new possessions
  •  Drug or alcohol misuse
  •  Becoming suddenly hostile or estranged from their family or friends
  •  Dramatic changes to their appearance, maybe wearing inappropriate clothing
  •  They’re seen getting into or out of vehicles with unknown adults
  •  They become involved in petty crime such as shoplifting or stealing
  •  They have more than one or share their boyfriend or girlfriend
  •  They become sexually active, pregnant or seeking an abortion or treatment for sexual diseases
  •  They’re getting phone calls and/or text messages from unknown adults
  •  They have unexplained injuries consistent with sexual or physical assault
  •  They self-harm or are having suicidal thoughts or tendencies
  •  They’re behaving inappropriately, being over-familiar with strangers, sending sexual images via the internet or mobile phones
If you are concerned about a friend or someone you know, speak to them. Ask them if they are ok. If you feel you can’t do this speak to someone else, you don’t have to name the person you are concerned about. There are loads of people who can give you advice:
  •  A Friend
  •  Parent / carer
  •  Teacher
  •  Police
  • Support agency such as Childline or Barnardo’s
Your friend, like Alice, might be desperate for someone to help them….someone like you. But remember don’t ever put yourself at risk, ask a trusted adult for help.