Indicators or ‘signs’ help friends and family spot that they might be in danger. Exploitation, sexual or criminal, is difficult to detect as many signs can just be regular behaviour, and will often be far subtler than the scenes below.

Speak to a trusted adult if you are worried someone and have noticed a change in behaviour relating to signs of sexual or criminal exploitation.

A trusted adult could be a parent, grandparent, carer, teacher, youth, health or social worker. It is any adult you are comfortable discussing these issues with and trust to help you.


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New Jewellery
Sexy Clothing
Ripped Photo of Old Friends
Running Away/Going Missing
STI Leaflet
New Clothes
Pregnancy Test
Alcohol and Cigarettes,
More New Clothes
Locked Diary
‘F’ Graded Homework/School Warning Letter
Secret Phone
Locked Door


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Alcohol Bottles
Sexual Health Leaflet
Strange Messages (Computer)
Packed Overnight Bag
Brand New Trainers
Second Phone
Brand New Clothes
New Video Games/DLC’s/Skins
‘F’ Graded Homework


Maisie has gone missing, you may have spotted the signs in her bedroom (above) but what’s been happening online, have a look through her Facebook and see if you can spot any of the signs.


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 but be aware of peer on peer abuse.
  2. A good mate won’t ask you to do stuff you’re uncomfortable with, so if you feel you can’t say no to someone, ask yourself: ‘Am I in a safe situation?’
  3. If someone offers you something for free, ask if they’d want something in return.
  4. Listen to your body – a fast, pounding heartbeat and churning stomach are signs you feel unsafe, nervous or uncomfortable.
  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, you could use the Snapmap or Apple’s Find Friends app.
  8. Be responsible if you are drinking and/or taking drugs as they can make you unaware of unsafe situations.


Phoebe’s 14 years old and she’s gone missing, but she’s left her phone behind – what signs can you spot that something might be wrong? Suitable for age 14+



We have put together a couple of quizzes to help you assess the situation you or your friends might be in. If you get results that indicate something is not as it should be it is best to follow advice and speak to someone. If the quiz results say everything is ok but it doesn’t quite feel right, your gut is telling you something is off then find out who is best to speak to and ask them for advice.

Am I in a healthy relationship?
Should I be worried about my friend?


How you can protect yourself and your friends from exploitation:

  • The best way to stop exploitation is to not 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 a potential 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.
  • If someone asks you to look after something, deliver a package or sell something, be suspicious, once you’ve done that first one they will have something on you.
  • If something seems to good to be true, it probably is – think twice.