Help us shine a light on exploitation
Would you know how to spot the signs your child was being exploited?
On Thursday, 22 July the VERU will be appearing alongside other professionals working to keep children and young people safe in Bedfordshire in an online webinar held on Facebook.
Children and young people are being targeted by criminal gangs, who manipulate and coerce them into taking part in criminality, such as stealing, carrying drugs or weapons or sexually exploiting them for their own purposes.
Although this is a national issue, it is also happening in Bedfordshire and we need to be aware of this and to be able to spot the signs that our children may be victims of exploitation.
Exploitation can take place in many forms and can include gang involvement, county lines, drugs, sexual violence and exploitation, trafficking, modern day slavery, weapons (including knives and firearms), cuckooing and more.
How to #SeeTheSigns
There are a number of signs that you can look out for which could flag whether your child is being exploited or is at risk or exploitation:
- Do they have an extra mobile phone?
- Do they have new clothes or gadgets they can’t account for?
- Are they receiving excessive phone calls or texts, particularly from someone you don’t know?
- Are they persistently going missing from school or home?
- Have they started hanging around with older people or groups?
- Are they leaving home without any explanation?
- Do they have any injuries they can’t explain?
If your child is involved in a gang they may be scared and not want to talk about it. It is important that they know you want to listen and support them. Make sure they know they have a choice.
Try to understand the situation from their point of view. Ask them what you can do to help. Try to agree about what they should do next. Work with them to find solutions and choices.
The Bedfordshire Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit is here to provide support for all people affected by youth violence, including parents, carers, grandparents and other family members.
You can contact us if you need more help and support, or please visit our VERU Village pages for more help and support services.