Are you a parent?
If you are a parent, please, please stop saying your teenager is old enough, they are able to make sensible decisions and they can keep themselves safe. You will be surprised at the amount of ‘very sensible young people who are being groomed because the art of grooming is for the victim to be so unassuming of the perpetrator, who is usually a ‘friend’ or someone whom they respect.
3 – Create and maintain a relationship where no subject is taboo – they NEED to know you are a safe person they can come to, to talk about anything, whether that drugs, sex, relationships, etc. If you are not having those conversations with them, it is an issue. That needs to be changed, today!
Young people need a figure whom they can rely on. Unfortunately, they do not all have a biological parent who can meet their emotional needs, but extended family and community makes a huge difference!
Between aunts, uncles, grandparents, siblings, step-parents and siblings, Godparents, friends, teachers, etcetera, they can provide a coordinated structure of support for children and young people, and indeed biological parents. The widespread impact of sexual exploitation is not often discussed. These people who have seen a child mature and grow in age; those who have looked after and cared for that child, can also experience the worry, fear, shock and trauma of the aftermath of sexual exploitation. They are often the people who are there or who step in before, during and after Children’s Services, the Court and Police become involved to support the parents of the exploited child.
If these people are the ones forming the structured support around parents, then it follows they are the ones who need to be armed with information about sexual exploitation as a subject matter. What it is, what it looks like and what role they can play in safeguarding children and young people in their community.
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