Parents and Carers


Unhealthy relationships and your child

Relationships can be confusing for young people, and that’s why children and young people find that all of a sudden they are being abused in some way in their relationship.

Many just don’t know what is a healthy relationship, and what’s unhealthy, especially when they enjoy getting attention.

But because they don’t have much experience in relationships and are still working out what their emotions mean, they don’t recognise when they are uncomfortable, and what makes a good relationship and what doesn’t.

They don’t realise that a healthy relationship is one where they can say how they feel, and shouldn’t be controlled. They don’t understand that it’s never OK to be exploited or abused, and that they need to listen to themselves and make sense of how they feel.

You can help them to understand more about healthy relationships here

Call for advice

It can be hard for children to spot when they are in a risky relationship. If you’re concerned about a child or young person who may be experiencing an exploitative relationship, you can call Catch22 for advice on 01782 237106.

Your child could be pressured into having sex

Many young people feel pressured into have sex, even if they don’t want to.

This can be because they don’t understand what a healthy relationship is.

They can have sex when they don’t want to for a number of reasons, such as:

  • Not understanding consent to sex – because it is complicated
  • Thinking that they have to have sex again because they’ve said yes before - they don’t understand that they can stop giving consent at any time
  • That they feel that they owe the other person in some way
  • Because they have been groomed. It is never their fault – someone else has enderred themselves to them, and your child either feels that they have no choice or needs them in some way

Spot the signs of CSE

Child sexual exploitation can be hard to identify. A change in behaviour in a young person may often seem like normal teenage behaviour, but it could be something far more serious.

Victims of CSE may show some of the following signs:

  • Bruising on their arms or body
  • Regularly using drugs or drinking alcohol
  • Mood swings, aggression towards others
  • Truancy or a drop in performance at school
  • Self-harm – e.g. cutting or eating disordersl
  • Seeming scared
  • Change in appearance, or borrowing clothes from others
  • Always tired
  • Having marks or scars on their body that they try to hide
  • Avoiding usual friends
  • Unexplained relationships with older people
  • Staying out late, not returning home
  • They have unexplained gifts, expensive clothes, mobile phones
  • Unexplained money, frequently taking part in activities requiring money
  • Spending a lot of time online

Recognising the signs

Videos to help your child understand healthy relationships.

CSE parental awareness - This video produced by Barnado’s aims to show you how you can spot the signs of sexual exploitation by telling the story of Sophie and what happens after she make a new friend online.

Sexual abuse

Keeping children safe is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone needs to think, spot and speak out against abuse and adopt a zero tolerance to adults developing inappropriate relationships with children or children.

CSE is abuse and is never okay

If you’re concerned about a child or young person who may be experiencing an exploitative relationship, you can call Catch22 for advice on 01782 237106

If you are concerned about your child then please report your concerns.

How to help your child to keep themselves safe

Make a safety plan with them Download and use the childline safety plans from here

This is great for when young people go to parties – it suggests creating a code word that you both understand and calls for you to pick them up, no questions asked - but doesn’t embarrass them in front of their friends


Sexting is when children send or receive explicit images of themselves through text message or over the internet. Most young people think that it’s okay and a normal part of healthy relationship – but nearly 1 in 5 people receiving a sext have passed it onto someone else, or even posted it onto the Internet.

Most young people don’t understand the consequences of sexting – that it can be sent to anyone anywhere, that it is illegal and it can wreck lives.

They want you, as a parent, to help them keep safe online.

• Use these conversations starters to explore together what they’re doing online and tell that about the SMART rules

• Ask them to download the Zipit app. Zipit features a number of flirty and amusing comebacks to help your child stay in control of their online conversations.

• Draw your child attention to this online quiz created by MTV. The quiz will help them to think the impact sexting can have and also encourage them to think about their own attitudes to online safety.

Further help and support for Parents and Carers

Are you worried that your child might be being forced to have sex or need some advice about sexual exploitation? If you see something, say something. If you’re concerned about a child or young person who may be experiencing an exploitative relationship, you can call Catch22 for advice on 01782 237106. .

Report it and find out more here

Support and advice - Parents Against Child Exploitation (PACE) - Offers support to concerned or affected parents including an online advice centre. equip parents with the information and knowledge to safeguard children from this abuse.

CEOP's - thinkuknow offers advice to parents of children at primary and secondary school, including how to talk to your child.

Barnardo’s have produced a list of social media and digital platforms that young people use and explains what each one does and what the risks are.

Share Aware Guide - a PDF guide produced to empower parents to keep their children safe online.

Savana is an organisation that offers support services and information to anyone who has encountered or experienced any form of sexual assault or violence at some point in their lives.
Understanding the digital world - Do you know what IWSN means? LMIRL? NO? The Parent Zone's website has a wealth of information to help families deal with the many difficulties thrown up by the pace of technological change.

NetAware - a comprehensive guide for parents on over 50 of the top social networks, apps and games that young people use.

Talking to Your Child About Staying Safe Online - advice and tips from the NSPCC on how to have effective conversations with your children about an array of online topics, including cyberbullying, online porn, and sharing images and information.

Parental Controls - information on how parental controls can be used to help keep children safe online.

SelfieCop is an app that automatically forwards photos taken on a child or teen's phone to his or her parents. The aim is to make young people think more carefully about what they are snapping and sharing.

Videos to share with your child

Here are some more useful videos for parents and carers to share with children.

Videos for Younger children:

Videos for teenagers:

Grooming parties

One of the ways that unhealthy relationships can lead to something even worse - sexual exploitation and abuse - is through ‘grooming parties.’

Any young person can be groomed, and because of peer pressure, being frightened, feeling like they owe someone or just feeling out of control, they have sex against their will.

Any child, of any age and any background can be sexually exploited, regardless of their gender of sexuality or their social or ethnic background. Offenders can be any adults or even young people, and are skilled at targeted and grooming young people.

Rebecca’s Story

Rebecca’s Story is a new resource for schools to help them explore with their pupils (Year 9 and upwards) how to keep safe at parties. Young people often go to parties of people they don’t really know.

The story begins online, where ‘Stu’ starts to take an interest in Rebecca. Rebecca agrees to go to Stu’s party because she knows an older girl that’s started talking to her and is friends with Stu. There she drinks and even takes drugs because of peer pressure. The video ends with a question to the viewer ‘’What would you do?’’

Teachers should use the video along with a classroom pack that helps young people to spot the dangers and All schools have the opportunity to use these new materials which will be rolled out over 2019. Ask your schools to get in touch with to find out more.

Translate »