As parents and carers, we all want to do the best we can to protect our children while giving them the freedom they need to develop towards adulthood. The chances of your child being harmed by an adult are very small, but there are steps you can take to protect them.
It’s normal for young people to want to become more independent, challenge their parents, push boundaries and try out behaviours in places and situations they feel comfortable in and with people they trust. This might make it more difficult to spot the danger signs.
You should, therefore, watch out for signs that might indicate that a young person is troubled about something such as unusual or extreme behaviours such as mood swings, taking risks, using drugs and alcohol, problems sleeping and/or nightmares, missing school or poor school work.
Abuse can take many forms, be cautious of the following:
Abusers can be in the same age group. They are often thought of as adults, and mostly they are, however there have been cases of the groomer being in the same peer group
The best thing you can do is give them confidence and self-belief by making them feel loved and valued.
If you’re concerned that your child is the victim of abuse, or that they might be involved in the abuse of another young person, it’s vital that you take immediate action.
Call the NSPCC child protection helpline on 0808 800 5000 to talk about your concerns. If your child or a young person you know is abused, call the police immediately.
You can also contact your local authority children’s services department: