Mums advice for picking up the pieces of CSE

Discovering that your child has been sexually exploited is destroying. I would
never want any other family to go through what we have. If you are a parent
and are reading this please make sure you familiarise yourself with the signs.
The signs were there with Alice but I just dismissed it as normal growing up
behaviour.
Help your Child
Most of the time it probably is but not this time. If you notice a
combination of the following signs speak to someone, find out more:
  •  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
Don’t ever feel ashamed or embarrassed to seek help, it’s your child, you
need to help them. I found these agencies who can offer support:
Make sure you speak to your child about the dangers out there and how to
protect themselves, don’t just expect the schools to give them this guidance.
It was recommended I speak to Alice and my other kids about healthy
relationships.
I wasn’t sure how to start this conversation so found some good
pointers:
  •  Where you respect each other
  •  You feel happy, loved and safe
  •  You are not made to do things that hurt you, make you feel uncomfortable or scared
  •  Your boyfriend / girlfriend should never try to pressure, control or intimidate you
Most importantly listen, offer support and never judge their behaviour or what
they have done, this is what they will be most concerned about. They are a
victim a crime has been committed against them.
You might find you need support to. Make sure you speak to someone, if you
can’t open up to a friend or family member try contacting one of the following:
  • GP
  • Employee support Helpline (if your employer has one)