Parents and carers can discuss the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships with their children, this is really important in helping highlight potential risks to them.
There are also practical steps you can take, such as:
- Don’t wait to be 100% sure, collect evidence, if you suspect that your child is at risk – act now and call Child Line or Essex Police.
- Stay alert to changes in behaviour or any physical signs of abuse, e.g. bruising
- Be aware of new, unexplained gifts or possessions, e.g. mobile phones, and carefully monitor any instances of staying out late or not returning home
- Exercise caution around older friends your child may have, or relationships with other young people where there appears to be a power imbalance
- Make sure you understand the risks associated with your child being online and put measures in place to minimise them.
- Sometimes grooming and sexual exploitation takes place online. Make sure you know how to keep your children safe.
If you are worried about something that has happened online, help is available from CEOP.
Has someone acted inappropriately towards your child online? Report it to CEOP.
If your child shares something online that they wish they hadn’t, they shouldn’t feel guilty. Help is available from ChildLine who can also help you and your child get the image removed.
Helpful advice and tools from the NSPCC that you can use to help keep your child safe whenever and wherever they go online.
NSPCC advice line for adults worried about children: 0808 800 5000
Victims gateway: www.essexvictimsgateway.org
Parents Against Child Exploitation (PACE)
PACE is the leading national charity working with parents and carers of sexually exploited children.
Pace helps parents across the UK understand what is happening to their child and how parents are the prime agents in helping their child exit exploitative relationships. It does this by offering:
- One-to-one telephone advice and support to parents
- Facilitating meetings with similarly-affected parents for peer support
- Advising how to establish rights as parents and work in partnership with statutory agents such as police and social workers
- Advice and support when pursuing disruption and prosecution of the perpetrators of child sexual exploitation
- Befriending scheme
PACE offer a free on-line course for Parents and Carers. Parents and carers can register for this free online course here.
What to do if your child goes missing
If your child does not return home when you expect them to and you are worried, in the first instance you should try and find out where they are. Contact relatives or friends to see if they have seen them or know where they are. You should also search your property and local area to see if you can locate them. You should also:
- Try to contact them directly via mobile phone, text or social networking sites (such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
- Check their bedroom and any other place where your child might be within the house or building
- Check the garden, garage, sheds, grounds and surrounding area
- Check with their friends, school, neighbours, relatives, work or anyone else who may have any suggestions about where they might be. Ask them to tell you immediately if they hear from the missing person.
However, if your child is missing or has run away from home, you must contact us on 999.
If you cannot locate your child following a telephone and physical search then you should report them missing to us by dialling 101. You do not have to wait 24 hours before reporting them missing.