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Think Twice Think Abuse – National Child Exploitation (CE) Awareness day 2024

  • Date published:

  • Author: malloryfisher

18th March is National child exploitation awareness day #CEADAY2024.

Think, spot and speak out against abuse and adopt a zero tolerance to adults developing inappropriate relationships with children or children exploiting and abusing their peers.


Infographic showing that  STOP CE, which refers to child exploitation, awareness day is 18 March.


Any child can be exploited. Help to improve the chances of young people being heard and to deter sexual predators and criminal activity through awareness of child exploitation – Say Something if You See Something.



What is child exploitation?



What are the signs of exploitation?


The look closer campaign (#Lookcloser) seeks to raise awareness of the signs and how to report them.


Brightly coloured poster outlining the signs of exploitation, which include never knowing where they are or who they are with, changes to clothing personal hygiene, and talking differently, changes in behaviour, change in friends, unexplained new possessions, coping through alcohol, drug use, self-harm, unexplained injuries, spending more time online, and going new places without an obvious connection. If you see something, say something.


Infographic sharing multiple signs of child exploitation and what to ask yourself about a young person. For example, is the young person looking lost or in unfamiliar surroundings, carrying lots of cash, being instructed or controlled by another individual, or seen begging in a public space?

Other signs, depending on the type of exploitation could include:

  • Being subject to threats, blackmail and violence (linked to their own safety or safety of friends and/or family)
  • Being forced to commit crimes
  • Not being able to leave a gang
  • Risk of physical harm, emotional harm and/or sexual abuse
  • Frequently going missing from home, school or care
  • Significant decline in school results or performance
  • Significant changes in appearance or mental health
  • Travelling to places they have no obvious connections with
  • Unwillingness to explain their whereabouts
  • Receiving excessive calls or texts at all hours of the day


Real life stories

Trigger warning – these stories contain a personal account of exploitation and may cause distress.


10 year old Daniel


13 year old Megan


14 year old Callum


Think twice, think abuse


What can you do?

  • We need to disrupt perpetrators through any means possible, don’t place the burden on victims to disclose to us
  • Think, spot and speak out against abuse – think twice think abuse and say something if you see something
  • Recognise and respond to all forms of exploitation
  • Challenge the language of exploitation – humanise where language has sought to dehumanise the child/young person
  • Look at the bigger picture and see beyond a child’s behaviour. Don’t see the child/YP as the problem, fixate on their behaviour or punish them – talk to them to understand their problems and see their needs
  • Get to know children and families for who they are, not what’s happening to them
  • Listen, care and safeguard. Don’t blame, don’t judge
  • Children and families need you to believe them
  • Understand that victims are never to blame
  • Take time to build relationships with children and families – it’s crucial
  • Involve children and young people in decision making, it’s their life
  • Create safe spaces
  • A good relationship with a professional is the best resource a child (and family) can have
  • Forming lasting relationships are the key to supporting exploited victims
  • Build on families and communities’ strengths


You can also take a look at these helpful guides designed to support parents and carers.


Image of a person's hands, palms up with the  handwritten words