How can you protect yourself and your friends from sexual exploitation?

The best way to stop sexual exploitation is to never let the grooming process start.

Be wary of new friends both online and in person. Abusers can be male or female, they can be the same age or older, from any background.

Don’t stop talking to friends and family – isolating their victim is key to a groomers success don’t let it happen. Make sure no matter what your friends know you are there for them.

Don’t give people things they can use against you. Sexting or sending a naked selfie might not seem like a big deal, but if it’s something you wouldn’t want your whole class to see don’t hit send! If you feel awkward saying no try using Zipit

Barnardo’s ‘Real Love Rocks‘ programme includes some ‘Keep Safe’ tips. They have kindly let us recreate them here:

  1. Stick with mates a similar age to you – although peer on peer abuse happens so bear in mind that a good mate won’t ask you to do stuff you’re uncomfortable with.
  2. If you feel you can’t say no, ask yourself: ‘Am I in a safe situation?’
  3. If someone offers you something for free, ask what they want in return.
  4. Listen to your body – a fast, pounding heartbeat and churning stomach are signs you feel unsafe.
  5. Be careful what personal details – including photos – you give out online, by phone, or in real life.
  6. Make sure you know where you are going and how to get home. Have credit and charge on your phone.
  7. Make sure someone you trust always knows where you are.
  8. Drinking and taking drugs can make you unaware of unsafe situations and you can become a target for people who may hurt you.

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